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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Fixation conditions, the foveola and saccadic latency.

Saccades are often elicited in the laboratory by the abrupt step-displacement of a single lit point which is initially the foveolar fixation point and then the eccentric refixation target. This was our Control condition. Four experiments modified the fixation arrangements to examine the effect of altered foveolar stimulation on saccadic latency and accuracy to targets within the central +/- 6 deg of the visual field. (1) No foveolar fixation point: The subject fixated the empty space midway between a pair of fixation guides, which later collapsed into a single refixation target. Latencies for small saccades were similar to the Control values. (2) No foveolar fixation point and no real refixation target: A pair of fixation guides underwent a yoked displacement, and it was easy to fixate and track the invisible midpoint. The smallest saccades were hypermetric, and the typical pattern of latency variation with retinal eccentricity was exaggerated in scale. (3) Spatial effects of a persistent non-target: The precise position of a non-target was important, latency increases being in the ipsilateral hemifield when the non-target was intrafoveolar and unilateral, bilateral when intrafoveolar and on the midline, and local when the non-target was extrafoveolar. (4) Temporal effects of a foveolar fixation point: Blanking an otherwise persistent fixation point for as little as 1 msec at the time of target presentation reduced the expected latency increase. We conclude that the position and timing of foveolar illumination can be critical for saccades of all sizes.[1]


  1. Fixation conditions, the foveola and saccadic latency. Kalesnykas, R.P., Hallett, P.E. Vision Res. (1996) [Pubmed]
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