The peri-saccadic perception of objects and space

PLoS Comput Biol. 2008 Feb;4(2):e31. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.0040031.


Eye movements affect object localization and object recognition. Around saccade onset, briefly flashed stimuli appear compressed towards the saccade target, receptive fields dynamically change position, and the recognition of objects near the saccade target is improved. These effects have been attributed to different mechanisms. We provide a unifying account of peri-saccadic perception explaining all three phenomena by a quantitative computational approach simulating cortical cell responses on the population level. Contrary to the common view of spatial attention as a spotlight, our model suggests that oculomotor feedback alters the receptive field structure in multiple visual areas at an intermediate level of the cortical hierarchy to dynamically recruit cells for processing a relevant part of the visual field. The compression of visual space occurs at the expense of this locally enhanced processing capacity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology*