Stimulus-salience and the time-course of saccade trajectory deviations

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  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Universiteit Utrecht


The deviation of a saccade trajectory is a measure of the oculomotor competition evoked by a distractor. The aim of the present study was to investigate the impact of stimulus-salience on the time-course of saccade trajectory deviations to get a better insight into how stimulus-salience influences oculomotor competition over time. Two experiments were performed in which participants were required to make a vertical saccade to a target presented in an array of nontarget line elements and one additional distractor. The distractor varied in salience, where salience was defined by an orientation contrast relative to the surrounding nontargets. In Experiment 2, target-distractor similarity was additionally manipulated. In both Experiments 1 and 2, the results revealed that the eyes deviated towards the irrelevant distractor and did so more when the distractor was salient compared to when it was not salient. Critically, salience influenced performance only when people were fast to elicit an eye movement and had no effect when saccade latencies were long. Target-distractor similarity did not influence this pattern. These results show that the impact of salience in the visual system is transient.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sep 2012


  • Distractors, Eye movement, Saccade deviation, Stimulus-salience, Time-course

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