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Illusory perceptions of space and time preserve cross-saccadic perceptual continuity

Yarrow, K., Haggard, P., Heal, R., Brown, P. and Rothwell, J. C. (2001). Illusory perceptions of space and time preserve cross-saccadic perceptual continuity. Nature, 414(6861), pp. 302-305. doi: 10.1038/35104551

Abstract

When voluntary saccadic eye movements are made to a silently ticking clock, observers sometimes think that the second hand takes longer than normal to move to its next position. For a short period, the clock appears to have stopped (chronostasis). Here we show that the illusion occurs because the brain extends the percept of the saccadic target backwards in time to just before the onset of the saccade. This occurs every time we move the eyes but it is only perceived when an external time reference alerts us to the phenomenon. The illusion does not seem to depend on the shift of spatial attention that accompanies the saccade. However, if the target is moved unpredictably during the saccade, breaking perception of the target's spatial continuity, then the illusion disappears. We suggest that temporal extension of the target's percept is one of the mechanisms that 'fill in' the perceptual 'gap' during saccadic suppression. The effect is critically linked to perceptual mechanisms that identify a target's spatial stability.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: EYE-MOVEMENTS, INFORMATION, INTEGRATION, OBJECT
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/333
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Official URL: http://www.nature.com/

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