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Jochen Laubrock, Ralf Engbert, Reinhold Kliegl; Fixational eye movements predict the perceived direction of ambiguous apparent motion. Journal of Vision 2008;8(14):13. doi: 10.1167/8.14.13.
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Neuronal activity in area LIP is correlated with the perceived direction of ambiguous apparent motion (Z. M. Williams, J. C. Elfar, E. N. Eskandar, L. J. Toth, & J. A. Assad, 2003). Here we show that a similar correlation exists for small eye movements made during fixation. A moving dot grid with superimposed fixation point was presented through an aperture. In a motion discrimination task, unambiguous motion was compared with ambiguous motion obtained by shifting the grid by half of the dot distance. In three experiments we show that (a) microsaccadic inhibition, i.e., a drop in microsaccade frequency precedes reports of perceptual flips, (b) microsaccadic inhibition does not accompany simple response changes, and (c) the direction of microsaccades occurring before motion onset biases the subsequent perception of ambiguous motion. We conclude that microsaccades provide a signal on which perceptual judgments rely in the absence of objective disambiguating stimulus information.
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