Target selection for saccadic eye movements in the presence of distractors

05. Mai 2010

Orienting with saccadic eye movements has been extensively studied. The effects of distractors on the orienting response provides a way of investigating attentional effects. The appearance of a stimulus in the visual field attracts attention endogenously. If such a stimulus appears during the course of saccadic orienting, it affects either the latency or the metrics of the saccade, depending on its position. I will discuss how this response is influenced by feature-based attention, when eye movements are made in the course of visual search. The second part of the talk will discuss whether nearby distractors can be ignored in the course of visual search using eye movements. Without specific instructions, nearby distractors often show an attractive influence on saccades, resulting in centre-of-gravity landing positions. However this effect can very largely be overcome with instructions to aim the eyes carefully, suggesting a spotlight-like form of attention which is not intrinsically tied to eye movement preparation.