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Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 232, Issue 12, pp 3949–3963 | Cite as

Oculomotor inhibitory control in express saccade makers

  • Felicity D. A. WolohanEmail author
  • Paul C. Knox
Research Article

Abstract

Express saccade makers (ESMs) produce high proportions (>30 %) of low-latency (80–130 ms) express saccades in tasks in which such responses are usually suppressed. In addition, high directional error rates on the antisaccade (AS) task suggest a failure of oculomotor inhibitory mechanisms in ESMs. However, the AS task is complex and does not provide a measure of inhibitory processes in isolation. We therefore examined inhibitory control in 25 ESM and 28 non-ESM (‘Norm’) participants, using a minimally delayed oculomotor response (MDOR) task. After a randomised fixation period, a pro-saccade target appeared for 200 or 1,000 ms. Participants were instructed to maintain fixation and saccade to the target position upon target offset. In a control task, they saccaded on target onset. Overall, saccade latency was considerably increased in the MDOR task compared to the control task (354 vs. 170 ms; p < 0.001), and we also observed a latency modulation with display time (200: 399, 1,000: 302 ms; p < 0.001). However, there was no evidence of a difference between groups (p = 0.29). Errors consisted primarily of responses to target onsets and error rates were comparable between the groups (p = 0.33). The overproduction of fast, reflexive responses was still observed in ESMs who generated a higher proportion of their errors within the express latency range (p < 0.001). We confirmed that in the AS task, the ESMs exhibited a higher directional error rate (p = 0.03). These results suggest that the performance ‘deficit’ observed on the AS task in ESMs cannot be attributed to generally weaker inhibitory control.

Keywords

Saccades Express saccades Antisaccades Inhibitory control Latency 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was supported by a project grant from the Leverhulme Trust (RPG329). We are grateful to all the participants who took part in these experiments.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Eye and Vision Science, Institute of Ageing and Chronic DiseaseUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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