Saccadic eye movements cause displacements of the image of the visual world projected on the retina. Despite the ubiquitous nature of saccades, subjective experience of the world is continuous and stable. In five experiments, we addressed the mechanisms that may support visual stability: matching of pre- and postsaccadic locations of the target by an internal copy of the saccade, or retention of the visual attributes of the target in short-term memory across the saccade. Healthy human adults were instructed to make a saccade to a peripheral Gabor patch. While the saccade was in midflight, the patch could change location, orientation, or both. The change occurred either immediately or following a 250-ms blank during which no visual stimuli were available. In separate experiments, subjects had to report either whether the patch stepped to the left or right or whether the orientation rotated clockwise or counterclockwise. Consistent with previous findings, we found that transsaccadic displacement discrimination was enhanced by the addition of the blank. However, contrary to previous findings reported in the literature, the feature change did not improve performance. Transsaccadic orientation change discrimination did not depend on either an irrelevant temporal blank or a simultaneous irrelevant target displacement. Taken together, these findings suggest that orientation is not a relevant visual feature for transsaccadic correspondence.
Keywords: Cognitive processing; Eye movements.