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Alessandro Benedetto, Maria Concetta Morrone; Visual sensitivity and bias oscillate phase-locked to saccadic eye movements. Journal of Vision 2019;19(14):15. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.14.15.
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Oscillations in perceptual performance have been observed before and after a voluntary action, like hand, finger, and eye movements. In particular, discrimination accuracy of suprathreshold contrast stimuli oscillates in the delta range (2–3 Hz) phase-locked to saccadic eye movements. Importantly, saccadic suppression is embedded in phase with these long-lasting perceptual oscillations. It is debated whether these rhythmic modulations affect only appearance of high-contrast stimuli or whether absolute detection threshold is also modulated rhythmically. Here we measured location discrimination of a brief Gabor patch presented randomly between 1 s before and after a voluntary saccade and demonstrated that absolute contrast thresholds oscillated at a similar frequency to suprathreshold contrast discrimination. Importantly, saccadic suppression is also embedded in phase with absolute threshold oscillations. Interestingly, response bias was also found to oscillate at the same frequency in both tasks. However, the frequency was in the alpha range for bias, while it was in the delta range for sensitivity. These results demonstrate the presence of perisaccadic delta oscillations in visual sensitivity phase-locked to saccadic onset, and independent from response bias alpha oscillations. Overall, the present findings reinforce the suggestion of a leading role of oscillations in the temporal binding between eye-movement and visual processing timing.
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