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Meng Fei Ngan, Nina Hanning, Heiner Deubel; Where am eye? Subjective gaze moves continuously across space before saccade onset. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):1006. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/18.10.1006.
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People have a strong intuitive sense of where they are looking at, or where their gaze is directed. In contrast, previous reports found evidence for large deviations between subjective and objective gaze, in particular before saccadic eye movements. In the present study we asked how subjective gaze shifts when we make a saccade. Participants were asked to make a saccade towards an endogenously cued target 6° from fixation. A flash was presented for 25ms at any time between cue onset and 200 ms after their average saccade onset. This flash served as a temporal marker: After the saccade, participants indicated with a mouse pointer the location where they thought they were looking at when the flash occurred. If the flash occurred long before saccade onset or after the saccade, participants correctly reported their objective gaze. However, if the flash occurred between 250 and 0 ms before saccade onset, participants reported their gaze to be at locations intermediate between fixation and saccade target. In particular, subjective gaze was perceived closer to the saccade target the later the flash was presented. This demonstrates that people have the perception that their eyes are moving continuously from fixation to the saccade goal long before the actual start of the eye movement. It shows that people have very little knowledge about their actual eye position at any given moment in the vicinity of a saccade. They are unaware of the time when they make a saccade, and they cannot make use of the retinal position of objects to correctly indicate their objective gaze.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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