Goal-driven modulation as a function of time in saccadic target selection

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


Four experiments were performed to investigate the contribution of goal-driven modulation in saccadic target selection as a function of time. Observers were required to make an eye movement to a prespecified target that was concurrently presented with multiple nontargets and possibly one distractor. Target and distractor were defined in different dimensions (orientation dimension and colour dimension in Experiment 1), or were both defined in the same dimension (i.e., both defined in the orientation dimension in Experiment 2, or both defined in the colour dimension in Experiments 3 and 4). The identities of target and distractor were switched over conditions. Speed-accuracy functions were computed to examine the full time course of selection in each condition. There were three major results. First, the ability to exert goal-driven control increased as a function of response latency. Second, this ability depended on the specific target-distractor combination, yet was not a function of whether target and distractor were defined within or across dimensions. Third, goal-driven control was available earlier when target and distractor were dissimilar than when they were similar. It was concluded that the influence of goal-driven control in visual selection is not all or none, but is of a continuous nature.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1553-1572
Number of pages20
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2008


  • Dimensions, Eye movements, Goal-driven control, Time course, Visual selection