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Martijn J. Schut, Nathan Van der Stoep, Jasper H. Fabius, Stefan Van der Stigchel; Feature integration is unaffected by saccade landing point, even when saccades land outside of the range of regular oculomotor variance. Journal of Vision 2018;18(7):6. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/18.7.6.
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The experience of our visual surroundings appears continuous, contradicting the erratic nature of visual processing due to saccades. A possible way the visual system can construct a continuous experience is by integrating presaccadic and postsaccadic visual input. However, saccades rarely land exactly at the intended location. Feature integration would therefore need to be robust against variations in saccade execution to facilitate visual continuity. In the current study, observers reported a feature (color) of the saccade target, which occasionally changed slightly during the saccade. In transsaccadic change-trials, observers reported a mixture of the pre- and postsaccadic color, indicating transsaccadic feature integration. Saccade landing distance was not a significant predictor of the reported color. Next, to investigate the influence of more extreme deviations of saccade landing point on color reports, we used a global effect paradigm in a second experiment. In global effect trials, a distractor appeared together with the saccade target, causing most saccades to land in between the saccade target and the distractor. Strikingly, even when saccades land further away (up to 4°) from the saccade target than one would expect under single target conditions, there was no effect of saccade landing point on the reported color. We reason that saccade landing point does not affect feature integration, due to dissociation between the intended saccade target and the actual saccade landing point. Transsaccadic feature integration seems to be a mechanism that is dependent on visual spatial attention, and, as a result, is robust against variance in saccade landing point.
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