Hermens F, Walker R, Zanker J M, 2008, "What can we learn from micro-saccades?" Perception 37 ECVP Abstract Supplement, page 150
What can we learn from micro-saccades?
F Hermens, R Walker, J M Zanker
During periods of fixation our eyes make frequent micro-saccades, which are believed to prevent fading of the retinal image and are thought to play a role in the perception of illusory motion in static Op Art patterns. More recently, it has been suggested that micro-saccades may be an indicator of covert attention, whereas an alternative view is that micro-saccades reflect motor preparation. To examine these two explanations, we asked participants to either make a delayed saccade towards a target ('pro-saccade') or away from it ('anti-saccade'). If micro-saccades reflect attention, we expect them to be initially directed towards the target for both conditions. However, if they reflect motor preparation, we expect micro-saccades to reverse away from the stimulus in anti-saccade trials. We did not find any directional effects either of the target location or the task, casting doubts on both interpretations of micro-saccades. Instead, we observed a stronger modulation of micro-saccade frequency for anti-saccades than for pro-saccades, suggesting that micro-saccades are linked to the suppression of automatic saccadic responses.
[Supported by the Leverhulme Trust F-07537-Z.]
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