Metacontrast and Saccadic Suppression

Science  13 Oct 1972:
Vol. 178, Issue 4057, pp. 179-182
DOI: 10.1126/science.178.4057.179

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A vertical slit of light illuminated during horizontal saccadic eye movements appeared as a horizontally extended smear when stimulation was terminated before the saccade ended. However, on trials for which duration of illumination of the slit was extended into the period after the saccade, the smear appeared shorter and dimmer, and a clear image of the slit was seen. With further increases in duration, no smears were seen at the highest luminance of the slit employed, although smears were more than 2 log units above threshold when flashes were brief. This saccadic suppression is discussed in terms of metacontrast, with the accumulated luminance in the period after the saccade primarily responsible for masking the effects of the stimulation received during the movement of the eye.