Remote distractor effects and saccadic inhibition: spatial and temporal modulation

Walker, Robin and Benson, Valerie orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0351-4563 (2013) Remote distractor effects and saccadic inhibition: spatial and temporal modulation. Journal of Vision, 3 (9).

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Abstract The onset of a visual distractor remote from a saccade target is known to increase saccade latency (the remote distractor effect [RDE]). In addition, distractors may also selectively inhibit saccades that would be initiated about 90 ms after distractor onset (termed saccadic inhibition [SI]). Recently, it has been proposed that the transitory inhibition of saccades (SI) may underlie the increase in mean latency (RDE). In a first experiment, the distractor eccentricity was manipulated, and a robust RDE that was strongly modulated by distractor eccentricity was observed. However, the underlying latency distributions did not reveal clear evidence of SI. A second experiment manipulated distractor spatial location and the timing of the distractor onset in relation to the target. An RDE was again observed with remote distractors away from the target axis and under conditions with early-onset distractors that would be unlikely to produce SI, whereas later distractor onsets produced an RDE along with some evidence of an SI effect. A third experiment using a mixed block of target-distractor stimulus-onset asynchronies (SOAs) revealed an RDE that varied with both distractor eccentricity and SOA and changes to latency distributions consistent with the timing of SI. We argue that the notion that SI underpins the RDE is similar to the earlier argument that express saccades underlie the fixation offset (gap) effect and that changes in mean latency and to the shape of the underlying latency distributions following a visual onset may involve more than one inhibitory process.

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