Awareness of the saccade goal in oculomotor selection: Your eyes go before you know

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


The aim of the present study was to investigate how saccadic selection relates to people's awareness of the saliency and identity of a saccade goal. Observers were instructed to make an eye movement to either the most salient line segment (Experiment 1) or the only right-tilted element (Experiment 2) in a visual search display. The display was masked contingent on the first eye movement and after each trial observers indicated whether or not they had correctly selected the target. Whereas people's awareness concerning the saliency of the saccade goal was generally low, their awareness concerning the identity was high. Observers' awareness of the saccade goal was not related to saccadic performance. Whereas saccadic selection consistently varied as a function of saccade latency, people's awareness concerning the saliency or identity of the saccade goal did not. The results suggest that saccadic selection is primarily driven by subconscious processes.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-871
Number of pages11
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010


  • Awareness, Oculomotor capture, Saccade goal, Saccadic eye movements, Saliency