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Rapid eye movements to a virtual target are biased by illusory context in the Poggendorff figure.

Melmoth, D. R., Grant, S., Solomon, J. A. & Morgan, M. J. (2015). Rapid eye movements to a virtual target are biased by illusory context in the Poggendorff figure.. Experimental Brain Research, doi: 10.1007/s00221-015-4263-3


In order to determine the influence of perceptual input upon oculomotor responses, we examined rapid saccadic eye movements made by healthy human observers to a virtual target defined by the extrapolated intersection of a pointer with a distant landing line. While corresponding perceptual judgments showed no evidence of systematic bias, eye movements showed a strong bias, in the direction of assimilation of the saccade trajectory to the shortest path between the end of the pointer and the landing line. Adding an abutting vertical inducing line to make an angle of 45 deg with the pointer led to a larger bias in the same direction as the classical Poggendorff illusion. This additional Poggendorff effect was similar in direction and magnitude for the eye movements and the perceptual responses. Latency and dynamics of the eye movements were closely similar to those recorded for a control task in which observers made a saccade from the start fixation to an explicit target on the landing line. Further experiments with inducing lines presented briefly at various times during the saccade latency period showed that the magnitude of the saccade bias was affected by inducer presentation during the saccade planning process, but not during the saccade itself. We conclude that the neural mechanisms for extrapolation can feed into the control of eye movements without obvious penalties in timing and accuracy and that this information can instantaneously modify motor response throughout the planning phase, suggesting close association between perceptual and motor mechanisms in the process of visuo-spatial extrapolation.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via
Publisher Keywords: Perception, Action, Saccades, Poggendorff, illusion
Subjects: R Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Optometry & Visual Sciences
Text - Accepted Version
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