Probability of seeing increases saccadic readiness

PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e49454. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049454. Epub 2012 Nov 14.


Associating movement directions or endpoints with monetary rewards or costs influences movement parameters in humans, and associating movement directions or endpoints with food reward influences movement parameters in non-human primates. Rewarded movements are facilitated relative to non-rewarded movements. The present study examined to what extent successful foveation facilitated saccadic eye movement behavior, with the hypothesis that foveation may constitute an informational reward. Human adults performed saccades to peripheral targets that either remained visible after saccade completion or were extinguished, preventing visual feedback. Saccades to targets that were systematically extinguished were slower and easier to inhibit than saccades to targets that afforded successful foveation, and this effect was modulated by the probability of successful foveation. These results suggest that successful foveation facilitates behavior, and that obtaining the expected sensory consequences of a saccadic eye movement may serve as a reward for the oculomotor system.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Efferent Pathways / physiology
  • Fixation, Ocular / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Oculomotor Nerve / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reward*
  • Saccades / physiology*

Grants and funding

The author has no support or funding to report.