Perception of saccadic reaction time

Sci Rep. 2020 Oct 14;10(1):17192. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-72659-3.


That saccadic reaction times (SRTs) may depend on reinforcement contingencies has been repeatedly demonstrated. It follows that one must be able to discriminate one's latencies to adequately assign credit to one's actions, which is to connect behaviour to its consequence. To quantify the ability to perceive one's SRT, we used an adaptive procedure to train sixteen participants in a stepping visual target saccade paradigm. Subsequently, we measured their RTs perceptual threshold at 75% in a conventional constant stimuli procedure. For each trial, observers had to saccade to a stepping target. Then, in a 2-AFC task, they had to choose one value representing the actual SRT, while the other value proportionally differed from the actual SRT. The relative difference between the two alternatives was computed by either adding or subtracting from the actual SRT a percent-difference value randomly chosen among a fixed set. Feedback signalling the correct choice was provided after each response. Overall, our results showed that the 75% SRT perceptual threshold averaged 23% (about 40 ms). The ability to discriminate small SRT differences provides support for the possibility that the credit assignment problem may be solved even for short reaction times.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't