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Alessio Fracasso, Lisandro Kaunitz, David Melcher; Saccade kinematics modulate perisaccadic perception. Journal of Vision 2015;15(3):4. doi: 10.1167/15.3.4.
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© 2016 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Around the time of execution of an eye movement, participants systematically misperceive the spatial location of briefly flashed visual stimuli. This phenomenon, known as perisaccadic mislocalization, is thought to involve an active process that takes into account the motor plan (efference copy) of the upcoming saccade. While it has been proposed that the motor system anticipates and informs the visual system about the upcoming eye movements, at present the type and detail of information carried by this motor signal remains unclear. Some authors have argued that the efference copy conveys only coarse information about the direction of the eye movement, while a second theoretical view proposes that it provides specific details about the direction, amplitude, and velocity of the saccade to come. To test between these alternatives, we investigated the influence of saccade parameters on a perisaccadic unmasking task in which performance in discriminating the identity of a target (face or house) followed by a trailing mask is dramatically improved around the time of saccade onset. We found that the amplitude and peak velocity of the upcoming saccade modulated target perception, even for stimuli presented well before saccadic onset. We developed a predictive model for the generation of the efference copy that incorporates both saccade amplitude and saccade velocity planning prior to saccade execution. Overall, these results suggest that the efference copy stores specific information about the parameters of upcoming eye movement and that these parameters influence perception even prior to saccade onset.
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