Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 222, Issue 3, pp 175–183 | Cite as

Trial history biases the spatial programming of antisaccades

  • Tara Rastgardani
  • Victor Lau
  • Jason J. S. Barton
  • Mathias AbeggEmail author
Research Article


The historical context in which saccades are made influences their latency and error rates, but less is known about how context influences their spatial parameters. We recently described a novel spatial bias for antisaccades, in which the endpoints of these responses deviate towards alternative goal locations used in the same experimental block, and showed that expectancy (prior probability) is at least partly responsible for this ‘alternate-goal bias’. In this report we asked whether trial history also plays a role. Subjects performed antisaccades to a stimulus randomly located on the horizontal meridian, on a 40° angle downwards from the horizontal meridian, or on a 40° upward angle, with all three locations equally probable on any given trial. We found that the endpoints of antisaccades were significantly displaced towards the goal location of not only the immediately preceding trial (n − 1) but also the penultimate (n − 2) trial. Furthermore, this bias was mainly present for antisaccades with a short latency of <250 ms and was rapidly corrected by secondary saccades. We conclude that the location of recent antisaccades biases the spatial programming of upcoming antisaccades, that this historical effect persists over many seconds, and that it influences mainly rapidly generated eye movements. Because corrective saccades eliminate the historical bias, we suggest that the bias arises in processes generating the response vector, rather than processes generating the perceptual estimate of goal location.


Antisaccade Global effect Range effect Expectation 



This work was supported by CIHR operating grant MOP-81270. TR was supported by an AAN-SIGN summer fellowship grant, MA by a grant from the Schweizerische Stiftung für medizinisch-biologische Stipendien, and JB by a Canada Research Chair and a Senior Scholar award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. We thank Meinrad Abegg for his help with statistical analysis, and Wieske van Zoest and Stefan van der Stigchel for informative discussions and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tara Rastgardani
    • 1
    • 2
  • Victor Lau
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jason J. S. Barton
    • 1
  • Mathias Abegg
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Departments of Medicine (Neurology), Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Faculty of MedicineGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.Universitätsklinik für Augenheilkunde Inselspital, University of BernBernSwitzerland

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