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Eugene McSorley, Alice G. Cruickshank, Rachel McCloy; Inhibition of saccade initiation improves saccade accuracy: The role of local and remote visual distractors in the control of saccadic eye movements. Journal of Vision 2021;21(3):17. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.3.17.
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When a distractor appears close to the target location, saccades are less accurate. However, the presence of a further distractor, remote from those stimuli, increases the saccade response latency and improves accuracy. Explanations for this are either that the second, remote distractor impacts directly on target selection processes or that the remote distractor merely impairs the ability to initiate a saccade and changes the time at which unaffected target selection processes are accessed. In order to tease these two explanations apart, here we examine the relationship between latency and accuracy of saccades to a target and close distractor pair while a remote distractor appears at variable distance. Accuracy improvements are found to follow a similar pattern, regardless of the presence of the remote distractor, which suggests that the effect of the remote distractor is not the result of a direct impact on the target selection process. Our findings support the proposal that a remote distractor impairs the ability to initiate a saccade, meaning the competition between target and close distractor is accessed at a later time, thus resulting in more accurate saccades.
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