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Saccadic inhibition underlies the remote distractor effect

Abstract

The remote distractor effect is a robust finding whereby a saccade to a lateralised visual target is delayed by the simultaneous, or near simultaneous, onset of a distractor in the opposite hemifield. Saccadic inhibition is a more recently discovered phenomenon whereby a transient change to the scene during a visual task induces a depression in saccadic frequency beginning within 70 ms, and maximal around 90–100 ms. We assessed whether saccadic inhibition is responsible for the increase in saccadic latency induced by remote distractors. Participants performed a simple saccadic task in which the delay between target and distractor was varied between 0, 25, 50, 100 and 150 ms. Examination of the distributions of saccadic latencies showed that each distractor produced a discrete dip in saccadic frequency, time-locked to distractor onset, conforming closely to the character of saccadic inhibition. We conclude that saccadic inhibition underlies the remote distractor effect.

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Notes

  1. The difference histograms in Fig. 2 are plotted as absolute differences from baseline, rather than differences as proportions of baseline, because the estimates of proportional difference become noisy and unreliable when the baseline frequency is close to zero (i.e. the denominator term is small).

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to James Brockmole and John Henderson for helpful discussion of these issues.

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Correspondence to Robert D. McIntosh.

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Buonocore, A., McIntosh, R.D. Saccadic inhibition underlies the remote distractor effect. Exp Brain Res 191, 117–122 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-008-1558-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-008-1558-7

Keywords

  • Oculomotor
  • Saccadic inhibition
  • Remote distractor effect
  • Vision