, Volume 71, Issue 7, pp 1607-1617

Visual direction constancy across eyeblinks

Abstract

When a visual target is displaced during a saccade, the perception of its displacement is suppressed. Its movement can usually only be detected if the displacement is quite large. This suppression can be eliminated by introducing a short blank period after the saccade and before the target reappears in a new location. This has been termed the blanking effect and has been attributed to the use of otherwise ignored extraretinal information. We examined whether similar effects occur with eyeblinks and other visual distractions. We found that suppression of displacement perception can also occur due to a blink (both immediately prior to the blink and during the blink), and that introducing a blank period after a blink reduces the displacement suppression in much the same way as after a saccade. The blanking effect does not occur when other visual distractions are used. This provides further support for the conclusion that the blanking effect arises from extraretinal signals about eye position.

This research was supported by NSF Grant BCS 03-17681 to R.F.W.