Transsaccadic memory of position and form

Prog Brain Res. 2002;140:165-80. doi: 10.1016/S0079-6123(02)40049-0.


Why and how people perceive the visual world as continuous and stable, despite the gross changes of its retinal projection that occur with each saccade, is one of the classic problems in perception. In the present paper, we argue that an important factor of visual stability and transsaccadic perception is formed by the reafferent visual information, i.e., the visual display that is present when the eyes land. After a review of some of the relevant theoretical, behavioural and physiological research on space constancy, saccadic suppression and transsaccadic memory, three experiments are presented. In a first experiment, we study the effect of an extended horizontal bar covering the target area for a short period after the saccade on saccadic suppression of image displacement. The results show that the bar acts just like a temporary blanking of the saccade target, leading to a strong reduction of saccadic suppression. In the second experiment, we show that any object that is present immediately after the saccade can establish a spatial reference, even if it is dissimilar to the saccade target. In a third experiment we study, with a similar approach, the effect of blanking and postsaccadic information on transsaccadic integration of form information. The data demonstrate that a localized postsaccadic object tends to replace the content of transsaccadic memory.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Form Perception / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Saccades / physiology*