Attention modulates trans-saccadic integration

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With every saccade, humans must reconcile the low resolution peripheral information available before a saccade, with the high resolution foveal information acquired after the saccade. While research has shown that we are able to integrate peripheral and foveal vision in a near-optimal manner, it is still unclear which mechanisms may underpin this important perceptual process. One potential mechanism that may moderate this integration process is visual attention. Pre-saccadic attention is a well documented phenomenon, whereby visual attention shifts to the location of an upcoming saccade before the saccade is executed. While it plays an important role in other peri-saccadic processes such as predictive remapping, the role of attention in the integration process is as yet unknown. This study aimed to determine whether the presentation of an attentional distractor during a saccade impaired trans-saccadic integration, and to measure the time-course of this impairment. Results showed that presenting an attentional distractor impaired integration performance both before saccade onset, and during the saccade, in selected subjects who showed integration in the absence of a distractor. This suggests that visual attention may be a mechanism that facilitates trans-saccadic integration.

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