August 2023
Volume 23, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2023
Foveal vision anticipates defining features of eye movement targets: converging evidence from human psychophysics
Author Affiliations
  • Lisa Kroell
  • Martin Rolfs
    Department of Psychology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany
    Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany
    Exzellenzcluster Science of Intelligence, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany
    Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin, Germany
Journal of Vision August 2023, Vol.23, 4598. doi:
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      Lisa Kroell, Martin Rolfs; Foveal vision anticipates defining features of eye movement targets: converging evidence from human psychophysics. Journal of Vision 2023;23(9):4598.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Perceptual modulations at the target of an impending, large-scale eye movement (saccade) have been studied extensively. Until recently, however, little was known about the concurrent development of visual perception in the pre-saccadic center of gaze. Based on converging evidence from several investigations, we suggest that pre-saccadic foveal vision operates predictively: defining features of a saccade target are enhanced at the pre-saccadic fixation location. Four main findings support this idea: First, using a dynamic large-field noise paradigm, we observed higher Hit Rates for foveal probes with target-congruent orientation and a sensitization to incidental, target-like orientation information in foveally presented noise. Second, by densely sampling the (para-)foveal space, we demonstrate that enhancement is confined to the center of gaze and its immediate vicinity. Moreover, taking single-trial saccade landing errors into account revealed that enhancement is aligned to the fovea, not to the future retinal (predictively remapped) location of the saccade target. Third, foveal enhancement during saccade preparation emerges faster and is more pronounced than enhancement during passive fixation. Lastly, the foveally predicted signal relies on instantaneous peripheral input: as the eccentricity of the saccade target increases (i.e., as its pre-saccadic resolution decreases), the foveal orientation prediction manifests in a progressively lower spatial frequency range. Our findings suggest that, right before a saccade, peripheral information is available for foveal processing, possibly via feedback connections to foveal retinotopic cortex. By commencing foveal target processing before the movement is executed, this mechanism enables a seamless transition once the center of gaze reaches the target.


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