The long and the short of it: spatial statistics at fixation vary with saccade amplitude and task

Vision Res. 2006 Jun;46(12):1857-62. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2005.12.005. Epub 2006 Feb 15.


We recorded over 90,000 saccades while observers viewed a diverse collection of natural images and measured low level visual features at fixation. The features that discriminated between where observers fixated and where they did not varied considerably with task, and the length of the preceding saccade. Short saccades (<8 degrees) are image feature dependent, long are less so. For free viewing, short saccades target high frequency information, long saccades are scale-invariant. When searching for luminance targets, saccades of all lengths are scale-invariant. We argue that models of saccade behaviour must account not only for task but also for saccade length and that long and short saccades are targeted differently.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology
  • Fixation, Ocular / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Perception / physiology*