The spatiotopic representation of visual objects across time

Atten Percept Psychophys. 2016 Aug;78(6):1531-7. doi: 10.3758/s13414-016-1155-y.


Each eye movement introduces changes in the retinal location of objects. How a stable spatiotopic representation emerges from such variable input is an important question for the study of vision. Researchers have classically probed human observers' performance in a task requiring a location judgment about an object presented at different locations across a saccade. Correct performance on this task requires realigning or remapping retinal locations to compensate for the saccade. A recent study showed that performance improved with longer presaccadic viewing time, suggesting that accurate spatiotopic representations take time to build up. The first goal of the study was to replicate that finding. Two experiments, one an exact replication and the second a modified version, failed to replicate improved performance with longer presaccadic viewing time. The second goal of this study was to examine the role of attention in constructing spatiotopic representations, as theoretical and neurophysiological accounts of remapping have proposed that only attended targets are remapped. A third experiment thus manipulated attention with a spatial cueing paradigm and compared transsaccadic location performance of attended versus unattended targets. No difference in spatiotopic performance was found between attended and unattended targets. Although only negative results are reported, they might nevertheless suggest that spatiotopic representations are relatively stable over time.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology
  • Cues
  • Eye Movements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Saccades / physiology
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult