Oculomotor evidence for top-down control following the initial saccade

A. Siebold, W. van Zoest, M. Donk

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The goal of the current study was to investigate how salience-driven and goal-driven processes unfold during visual search over multiple eye movements. Eye movements were recorded while observers searched for a target, which was located on (Experiment 1) or defined as (Experiment 2) a specific orientation singleton. This singleton could either be the most, medium, or least salient element in the display. Results were analyzed as a function of response time separately for initial and second eye movements. Irrespective of the search task, initial saccades elicited shortly after the onset of the search display were primarily salience-driven whereas initial saccades elicited after approximately 250 ms were completely unaffected by salience. Initial saccades were increasingly guided in line with task requirements with increasing response times. Second saccades were completely unaffected by salience and were consistently goal-driven, irrespective of response time. These results suggest that stimulus-salience affects the visual system only briefly after a visual image enters the brain and has no effect thereafter. © 2011 Siebold et al.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e23552
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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