Are you ready? I can tell by looking at your microsaccades

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Abstract

The direction of microsaccades has been shown to be biased by the allocation of spatial attention. Here, we investigated whether the cognitive processes involved in preparing to respond to an upcoming target can modulate the microsaccadic response. Specifically, we found that optimal manual response preparation, reflected by faster response times, was associated with a reduction in the absolute frequency of microsaccades. The present results are consistent with previous studies suggesting a relationship between oculomotor activity and different sorts of motor responses. Our findings, however, surprisingly demonstrate that the effect of preparation and stimulus expectation extends to an automatic and unconscious oculomotor activity such as microsaccade execution.

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