Judging relative positions across saccades

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Abstract

When components of a shape are presented asynchronously during smooth pursuit, the retinal image determines the perceived shape, as if the parts belong to the moving object that the eyes are pursuing. Saccades normally shift our gaze between structures of interest, so there is no reason to expect anything to have moved with the eyes. We therefore decided to examine how people judge the separation between a target flashed before and another flashed after a saccade. Subjects tracked a jumping dot with their eyes. Targets were flashed at predetermined retinal positions, with a 67-242 ms interval between the flashes. After each trial subjects indicated where they had seen the targets. We selected the trials on which subjects made a complete saccade between the presentations of the two targets. For short inter-target intervals, subjects' judgements depended almost exclusively on the retinal separation, even when there were conspicuous visual references nearby. Even for the longest intervals, only part of the change in eye orientation was taken into consideration. These findings cannot simply be accounted for on the basis of the mislocalisation of individual targets or a compression of space near saccades. We conclude that the retinal separation determines the perceived separation between targets presented with a short interval between them, irrespective of any intervening eye movements. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Brenner, E., Meijer, W. J., & Cornelissen, F. W. (2005). Judging relative positions across saccades. Vision Research, 45(12), 1587–1602. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2004.11.020

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