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Sunwoo Kwon, Martin Rolfs, Jude F. Mitchell; Presaccadic motion integration drives a predictive postsaccadic following response. Journal of Vision 2019;19(11):12. doi: 10.1167/19.11.12.
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Saccadic eye movements sample the visual world and ensure high acuity across the visual field. To compensate for delays in processing, saccades to moving targets require predictions: The eyes must intercept the target's future position to then pursue its direction of motion. Although prediction is crucial to voluntary pursuit, it is unclear whether it is an obligatory feature of saccade planning. Saccade planning involves an involuntary enhanced processing of the target, called presaccadic attention. Does this presaccadic attention recruit smooth eye movements automatically? To test this, we had human participants perform a saccade to one of four apertures, which were static, but each contained a random dot field with motion tangential to the required saccade. In this task, saccades were deviated along the direction of target motion, and the eyes exhibited a following response upon saccade landing. This postsaccadic following response (PFR) increased with spatial uncertainty of the target position and persisted even when we removed the motion stimulus in midflight of the saccade, confirming that it relied on presaccadic information. Motion from 50–100 ms prior to the saccade had the strongest influence on PFR, consistent with the time course of perceptual enhancements reported in presaccadic attention. Finally, the PFR magnitude related linearly to the logarithm of stimulus velocity and generally had low gain, similar to involuntary ocular following movements commonly observed after sudden motion onsets. These results suggest that presaccadic attention selects motion features of targets predictively, presumably to ensure successful immediate tracking of saccade targets in motion.
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