Saccade accuracy as an indicator of the competition between functional asymmetries in vision


Hemispheric specialization refers to the fact that cerebral hemispheres are not equivalent and that cognitive processes are lateralized in the brain. Although the potential links between handedness and the left hemisphere specialization for language have been widely studied, little attention has been paid to other motor preferences, such as eye dominance, that also are lateralized in the brain. For example, saccadic accuracy is higher in the hemifield contralateral to the dominant eye compared to the ipsilateral hemifield. Saccade accuracy is, however, also known to be sensitive to other functional asymmetries, such as the lateralization of visuo-spatial attention in the right hemisphere of the brain. Using a global effect paradigm in three different saccade latency ranges, we here propose to use saccade accuracy as an indicator of visual functional asymmetries. We show that for the shortest latencies, saccade accuracy is higher in the left than in the right visual hemifield, which could be due to the lateralization of visuo-spatial attention in the right hemisphere. For the longest latencies, however, saccade accuracy is higher toward the right than the left hemifield, probably due to the lateralization of local and global processing in the left and right hemispheres, respectively. These results could have a major impact on studies designed to measure the degree of lateralization of individuals. We here discuss both the theoretical and clinical contributions of these results.

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    Bayes Factors comprised between 1 and 3 bring anecdotal evidence for H1, values between 3 and 10 bring moderate evidence for H1, values between 10 and 30 bring strong evidence for H1, values between 30 and 100 bring very strong evidence for H1, and values above 100 bring extreme evidence for H1. In the same manner, Bayes Factors comprised between 0.33 and 1 bring anecdotal evidence for H0, values between 0.1 and 0.33 bring moderate evidence for H0, values between 0.033 and 0.1 bring strong evidence for H0, values between 0.01 and 0.033 bring very strong evidence for H0, and values below 0.01 bring extreme evidence for H0 (criteria proposed by Jeffreys, 1961, and modified by Lee and Wagenmakers, 2014).


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The authors warmly thank Dr. Agnès Charvillat for her language help. They also gratefully acknowledge the two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Correspondence to Jérôme Tagu.

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Tagu, J., Doré-Mazars, K. & Vergilino-Perez, D. Saccade accuracy as an indicator of the competition between functional asymmetries in vision. Exp Brain Res (2020) doi:10.1007/s00221-019-05717-6

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  • Saccadic eye movements
  • Saccadic accuracy
  • Global effect
  • Distractor
  • Hemispheric specialization
  • Asymmetries