Attentional load interferes with target localization across saccades

W. Joseph MacInnes, Amelia R. Hunt

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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The retinal positions of objects in the world change with each eye movement, but we seem to have little trouble keeping track of spatial information from one fixation to the next. We examined the role of attention in trans-saccadic localization by asking participants to localize targets while performing an attentionally demanding secondary task. In the first experiment, attentional load decreased localization precision for a remembered target, but only when a saccade intervened between target presentation and report. We then repeated the experiment and included a salient landmark that shifted on half the trials. The shifting landmark had a larger effect on localization under high load, indicating that observers rely more on landmarks to make localization judgments under high than under low attentional load. The results suggest that attention facilitates trans-saccadic localization judgments based on spatial updating of gaze-centered coordinates when visual landmarks are not available. The availability of reliable landmarks (present in most natural circumstances) can compensate for the effects of scarce attentional resources on trans-saccadic localization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3737-3748
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number12
Early online date20 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • spatial vision
  • remapping
  • visual attention
  • eye movements
  • attentional load


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