The nature of the global effect beyond the first eye movement.

J.D. Silvis, K. Olmos Solis, M. Donk

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


When two or more visual objects appear in close proximity, the initial oculomotor response is systematically aimed at a location in between the objects, a phenomenon named the global effect. The global effect is known to arise when saccades are initiated relatively quickly, immediately after the presentation of a display, but it has also been shown that a global effect may occur much later in time, even for eye movements beyond the first. That is, when participants are searching for a complex target among complex distractor objects, it can take several eye movements to hit the target, and these eye movements mainly land at intermediate locations. It is debatable whether these findings are caused by the same mechanisms as those involved in the more typical global effect studies, studies in which much simpler search tasks are employed. In the current two experiments, we examined whether and under which circumstances a global effect can be found for a second oculomotor response in a search display containing two simple objects. Experiment 1 showed that the global effect only occurs when the presentation of the target and distractor objects is delayed, until after the first oculomotor response is initiated. Experiment 2 demonstrated that identity information, rather than spatial information, is crucial for the occurrence of the global effect. These results suggest that the global effect is not due to a failure to dissociate between the locations of multiple objects, but a failure to determine which one is the target.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-32
JournalVision Research
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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