, Volume 129, Issue 1, pp 161-166

Intrasaccadic target steps during the deceleration of primary saccades affect the latency of corrective saccades

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This study investigates how visually guided saccades and subsequent corrective saccades are affected by a secondary target step occurring at different times during the primary saccade. Eye movements of human subjects were measured by means of a differential infrared light reflection technique while the subjects performed visually guided saccades to a laser spot in darkness. The target was stepped backward or onward during the targeting saccade. While the intrasaccadic target step did not influence gain, peak velocity or skewness of the primary saccade, it had a significant effect on the subsequent corrective saccade when the secondary target step occurred during the deceleration phase of the primary saccade: the latency of the corrective saccade was significantly increased compared with the one performed under the single-step control condition. This increase also occurred when single target steps were presented randomly intermixed with backward and onward double target steps and even between selected sub-samples of saccades with identical postsaccadic visual error. If the target step occurred early during the primary saccade, the latency of the corrective saccade was not changed. This indicates that visual information sampled during the deceleration phase of a saccade can lead to a cancellation of the normal trigger mode of corrective saccades.

Received: 9 April 1999 / Accepted: 23 June 1999