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Rebecca Goldstein, Melissa Beck; The Effect of Distractor Presentation Frequency on Saccade Reaction Times and Curvature. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):90. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.90.
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In tasks requiring an eye movement to the onset of a target, the appearance of a distractor 300 ms prior to the target produces shorter saccade reaction times (SRT) (Hermens & Walker, 2010; Walker, Kentridge, & Finlay, 1995). Time was a requirement for sufficient processing leading the distractor to act as a temporal warning cue to prepare a saccade. In the current study, we examined whether the frequency of the distractor’s appearance accounted for the shorter SRTs with an SOA of 300 ms. Participants were in either the 20% or 80% frequency condition. On distractor present trials, a distractor diamond appeared to the left or right of the target location and remained on when the target circle appeared. The participants’ task was to make a saccade to the target. Replicating previous research, we found shorter SRTs for distractor present trials compared to absent trials. However, when examined by distractor presentation frequency, this effect held for the 80% frequency condition, but not for the 20% frequency condition. In addition, SRTs for the distractor present trials in the 80% frequency condition were shorter than those in the 20% frequency condition. These results suggest that with frequent distractor presentation, activation of the distractor on the saccade motor map is short-lived resulting in quicker saccade execution to the target. While the longer SRTs in the 20% condition represent a longer activation and competition between the target and distractor. In addition, saccade curvature curved away from the distractor location on all distractor present types regardless of frequency condition. Therefore, the shorter SRTs represent a shorten activation of the distractor when it occurs frequently, although regardless of distractor frequency, there was suppression of the distractor in oculomotor system represented by saccade curvature away from the distractor.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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