Psychological Research

, Volume 75, Issue 4, pp 272–278 | Cite as

Bottom-up effects modulate saccadic latencies in well-known eye movement paradigm

  • Saskia van Stockum
  • Michael R. MacAskill
  • Tim J. Anderson
Original Article

Abstract

A well-known eye movement paradigm combines saccades (fast eye movements) with a perceptual discrimination task. At a variable time after the onset of a central arrow cue indicating the target direction [the stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA)], discrimination symbols appear briefly at saccade target and non-target locations. A previous study revealed an unexpected effect of SOA on saccadic latencies: latencies were longer in trials with longer SOAs. It was suggested that this effect reflects a top-down process as observers may wait for the discrimination symbol to appear before executing saccades. However, symbol onsets may also modulate saccade latencies from the bottom-up. To clarify the origin of the SOA effect on latencies in this paradigm, we used a simplified version of the original task plus two new symbol onset conditions for comparison. The results indicate that the modulation of saccadic latencies was not due to a top-down strategy, but to a combination of two opposing bottom-up effects: the symbol onsets at the target location shortened saccade latencies, while symbol onsets at non-target locations lengthened saccade latencies.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saskia van Stockum
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael R. MacAskill
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tim J. Anderson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Van der Veer Institute for Parkinson’s and Brain ResearchChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of MedicineUniversity of OtagoChristchurchNew Zealand
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyChristchurch HospitalChristchurchNew Zealand

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