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Emma Stewart, Alexander Schütz; Distracting attention impairs trans-saccadic integration. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):1163. doi: 10.1167/17.10.1163.
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Humans usually locate objects in the peripheral field of view before using saccadic eye movements to project them on the fovea for further inspection. Therefore, low resolution pre-saccadic information has to be integrated with high resolution post-saccadic information. While humans achieve integration in a near-optimal manner, the mechanisms supporting integration are still unclear – one potential mechanism is pre-motor attention. We presented an attentional distractor during an integration task to investigate whether disrupting pre-saccadic attention impairs trans-saccadic integration. Participants were presented with randomly oriented Gabors shown in either peripheral vision before a saccade, in foveal vision after a saccade, or across the entire saccade (integration trials). An attentional distractor appeared at a variable time relative to saccade onset on each trial. Participants freely selected the perceived orientation of the presented stimulus, and performance was measured as the angular distance between actual and reported stimulus orientation. For each condition, the time-course of performance across the saccade was calculated using a moving window spanning -200 ms to +200 ms relative to saccade onset. Results showed that integration performance declined with distractors presented around 100 ms before saccade onset. Additional analyses compared measures of motor planning error (saccade curvature and saccade latency) with integration performance across the time-course of the saccade: the time at which the distractor impaired integration performance most was highly correlated with the time at which both measures of motor error were the highest. These results indicate that presenting an attentional distractor during a saccade impairs trans-saccadic integration, suggesting that attention may be a mechanism underlying this integration process. The correlation between impairment on integration and motor performance suggests that pre-motor attention may be integral in motor planning and in the maintenance of perceptual stability across a saccade.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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