Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 203, Issue 3, pp 553–562 | Cite as

‘Alternate-goal bias’ in antisaccades and the influence of expectation

  • Mathias Abegg
  • Amadeo R. Rodriguez
  • Hyung Lee
  • Jason J. S. BartonEmail author
Research Article


Saccadic performance depends on the requirements of the current trial, but also may be influenced by other trials in the same experiment. This effect of trial context has been investigated most for saccadic error rate and reaction time but seldom for the positional accuracy of saccadic landing points. We investigated whether the direction of saccades towards one goal is affected by the location of a second goal used in other trials in the same experimental block. In our first experiment, landing points (‘endpoints’) of antisaccades but not prosaccades were shifted towards the location of the alternate goal. This spatial bias decreased with increasing angular separation between the current and alternative goals. In a second experiment, we explored whether expectancy about the goal location was responsible for the biasing of the saccadic endpoint. For this, we used a condition where the saccadic goal randomly changed from one trial to the next between locations on, above or below the horizontal meridian. We modulated the prior probability of the alternate-goal location by showing cues prior to stimulus onset. The results showed that expectation about the possible positions of the saccadic goal is sufficient to bias saccadic endpoints and can account for at least part of this phenomenon of ‘alternate-goal bias’.


Antisaccade Prosaccade Direction Global effect History Probability 



This work was supported by CIHR operating grant MOP-81270. MA was supported by a grant from the Schweizerische Stiftung für medizinisch-biologische Stipendien and the Swiss National Science Foundation and JB by a Canada Research Chair and a Senior Scholar award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mathias Abegg
    • 1
  • Amadeo R. Rodriguez
    • 1
  • Hyung Lee
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jason J. S. Barton
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Human Vision and Eye Movement Laboratory, Departments of Medicine (Neurology), Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyKeimyung University School of MedicineDaeguSouth Korea
  3. 3.Neuro-Ophthalmology Section DVGH Eye Care CentreVancouverCanada

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