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R. Calen Walshe, Antje Nuthmann; Mechanisms of saccadic decision making while encoding naturalistic scenes. Journal of Vision 2015;15(5):21. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/15.5.21.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Saccadic eye movements are the primary vehicle by which human gaze is brought in alignment with vital visual information present in naturalistic scenes. Although numerous studies using the double-step paradigm have demonstrated that saccade preparation is subject to modification under certain conditions, this has yet to be studied directly within a naturalistic scene-viewing context. To reveal characteristic properties of saccade programming during naturalistic scene viewing, we contrasted behavior across three conditions. In the Static condition of the main experiment, double-step targets were presented following a period of stable fixation on a central cross. In a Scene condition, targets were presented while participants actively explored a naturalistic scene. During a Noise condition, targets were presented during active exploration of a 1/f noise-filtered scene. In Experiment 2, we measure saccadic responses in three Static conditions (Uniform, Scene, and Noise) in which the backgrounds are the same as Experiment 1 but scene exploration is no longer permitted. We find that the mechanisms underlying saccade modification generalize to both dynamic conditions. However, we show that a property of saccade programming known as the saccadic dead time (SDT), the interval prior to saccade onset during which a saccade may not be canceled or modified, is lower in the Static task than it is in the dynamic tasks. We also find a trend toward longer SDT in the Scene as compared with Noise conditions. We discuss the implication of these results for computational models of scene viewing, reading, and visual search tasks.
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