No Evidence for a Saccadic Range Effect for Visually Guided and Memory-Guided Saccades in Simple Saccade-Targeting Tasks


  • Nuthmann Antje
  • Vitu Françoise
  • Engbert Ralf
  • Kliegl Reinhold

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Saccades to single targets in peripheral vision are typically characterized by an undershoot bias. Putting this bias to a test, Kapoula [1] used a paradigm in which observers were presented with two different sets of target eccentricities that partially overlapped each other. Her data were suggestive of a saccadic range effect (SRE): There was a tendency for saccades to overshoot close targets and undershoot far targets in a block, suggesting that there was a response bias towards the center of eccentricities in a given block. Our Experiment 1 was a close replication of the original study by Kapoula [1]. In addition, we tested whether the SRE is sensitive to top-down requirements associated with the task, and we also varied the target presentation duration. In Experiments 1 and 2, we expected to replicate the SRE for a visual discrimination task. The simple visual saccade-targeting task in Experiment 3, entailing minimal top-down influence, was expected to elicit a weaker SRE. Voluntary saccades to remembered target locations in Experiment 3 were expected to elicit the strongest SRE. Contrary to these predictions, we did not observe a SRE in any of the tasks. Our findings complement the results reported by Gillen et al. [2] who failed to find the effect in a saccade-targeting task with a very brief target presentation. Together, these results suggest that unlike arm movements, saccadic eye movements are not biased towards making saccades of a constant, optimal amplitude for the task.

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