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Aarlenne Z. Khan, Douglas P. Munoz, Naomi Takahashi, Gunnar Blohm, Robert M. McPeek; Effects of a pretarget distractor on saccade reaction times across space and time in monkeys and humans. Journal of Vision 2016;16(7):5. doi: 10.1167/16.7.5.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Previous studies have shown that the influence of a behaviorally irrelevant distractor on saccade reaction times (SRTs) varies depending on the temporal and spatial relationship between the distractor and the saccade target. We measured distractor influence on SRTs to a subsequently presented target, varying the spatial location and the timing between the distractor and the target. The distractor appeared at one of four equally eccentric locations, followed by a target (either 50 ms or 200 ms after) at one of 136 different locations encompassing an area of 20° square. We extensively tested two humans and two monkeys on this task to determine interspecies similarities and differences, since monkey neurophysiology is often used to interpret human behavioral findings. Results were similar across species; for the short interval (50 ms), SRTs were shortest to a target presented close to or at the distractor location and increased primarily as a function of the distance from the distractor. There was also an effect of distractor-target direction and visual field. For the long interval (200 ms) the results were inverted; SRTs were longest for short distances between the distractor and target and decreased as a function of distance from distractor. Both SRT patterns were well captured by a two-dimensional dynamic field model with short-distance excitation and long-distance inhibition, based upon known functional connectivity found in the superior colliculus that includes wide-spread excitation and inhibition. Based on these findings, we posit that the different time-dependent patterns of distractor-related SRTs can emerge from the same underlying neuronal mechanisms common to both species.
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