The development of the spatial extent of oculomotor inhibition

Brain Res. 2009 Nov 17;1298:92-8. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2009.08.081. Epub 2009 Sep 3.


Inhibition is intimately involved in the ability to select a target for a goal-directed movement. The effect of distracters on the deviation of oculomotor trajectories and landing positions provides evidence of such inhibition. Individual saccade trajectories and landing positions may deviate initially either towards, or away from, a competing distracter--the direction and extent of this deviation depends upon saccade latency and the target to distracter separation. However, the underlying commonality of the sources of oculomotor inhibition has not been investigated. Here we report the relationship between distracter-related deviation of saccade trajectory, landing position and saccade latency. Observers saccaded to a target which could be accompanied by a distracter shown at various distances from very close (10 angular degrees) to far away (120 angular degrees). A fixation-gap paradigm was used to manipulate latency independently of the influence of competing distracters. When distracters were close to the target, saccade trajectory and landing position deviated toward the distracter position, while at greater separations landing position was always accurate but trajectories deviated away from the distracters. Different spatial patterns of deviations across latency were found. This pattern of results is consistent with the metrics of the saccade reflecting coarse pooling of the ongoing activity at the distracter location: saccade trajectory reflects activity at saccade initiation while landing position reveals activity at saccade end.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Perception / physiology*