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Robert D. McIntosh, Antimo Buonocore; Saccadic inhibition can cause the remote distractor effect, but the remote distractor effect may not be a useful concept. Journal of Vision 2014;14(5):15. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/14.5.15.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
We have suggested that the remote distractor effect (RDE), the elevation of average saccadic reaction time (SRT) induced by a task-irrelevant distractor, may be explained as a statistical consequence of a characteristic reshaping of the SRT distribution known as saccadic inhibition (SI; Buonocore & McIntosh, 2008). In a recent paper, Walker and Benson (2013) argue against this idea and claim that the RDE and SI are partly dissociable. Here, we examine this claim, taking the opportunity to clarify potential ambiguities about how SI affects average SRT, and how the presence of SI can be inferred from SRT distributions. We highlight what we consider to be the most interesting aspects of Walker and Benson's data, and suggest that a more flexible and nuanced view of SI can account for them. In considering the relation between SI and the RDE, we conclude that the RDE may no longer be a useful concept for eye movement researchers.
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