Saccades are locked to the phase of alpha oscillations during natural reading

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Abstract

We saccade 3 to 5 times per second when reading. However, little is known about the neuronal mechanisms coordinating the oculomotor and visual systems during such rapid processing. Here, we ask if brain oscillations play a role in the temporal coordination of the visuomotor integration. We simultaneously acquired MEG and eye-tracking data while participants read sentences silently. Every sentence was embedded with a target word of either high or low lexical frequency. Our key finding demonstrated that saccade onsets were locked to the phase of alpha oscillations (8 to 13 Hz), and in particular, for saccades towards low frequency words.
Source modelling demonstrated that the alpha oscillations to which the saccades were locked, were generated in the right-visual motor cortex (BA 7). Our findings suggest that the alpha oscillations serve to time the processing between the oculomotor and visual systems during natural reading, and that this coordination becomes more pronounced for demanding words.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3001968
Number of pages19
JournalPLoS Biology
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Biology and life sciences
  • Engineering and technology
  • Medicine and health sciences
  • Research and analysis methods
  • Short Reports
  • Social sciences

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