Mechanisms of short-term saccadic adaptation

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 1989 May;15(2):249-58. doi: 10.1037//0096-1523.15.2.249.


A number of processes have been identified that adaptively modify oculomotor control components. The adaptive process studied here can be reliably produced over a short period of time by a visual stimulus that forces postsaccadic error. This short-term adaptive process, usually termed parametric adaptation, consists of a change in response amplitude that develops progressively over 50 to 100 training stimuli. The resulting compensation is proportional to, but substantially less than, the error induced by the training stimuli. Both increases and decreases in response amplitude can be evoked by an appropriately timed and directed movement of the stimulus target, which forces postsaccadic error. Results show that a single type of training stimulus can influence movements over a broad spatial region, provided these movements are in the same direction as the training stimulus. Experiments that map the range of modification suggest that the increasing adaptive modification operates by remapping final position, whereas the decreasing adaptive modification is achieved through an overall reduction of gain. Training stimuli that attempt to evoke both increases and decreases in the same region show a net modification equivalent to the algebraic addition of individual adaptive processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Eye Movements*
  • Humans
  • Reading
  • Saccades*