Serena Castellotti, Martin Szinte, Maria Michela Del Viva, & Anna Montagnini
Saccadic trajectories deviate toward or away from optimally informative visual features
The saccades’ path is influenced by visual distractors, making their trajectory curve away or toward them. Previous research suggested that the more salient the distractor, the more pronounced is the curvature. We investigate the saliency of spatial visual features, predicted by a constrained maximum entropy model to be optimal or non-optimal information carriers in fast vision, by using them as distractors in a saccadic task. Their effect was compared to that of luminance- based control distractors. Optimal features evoke a larger saccadic curvature compared to non-optimal features, and the magnitude and direction of deviation change as a function of the delay between distractor and saccade onset. Effects were similar to those found with high-luminance versus low-luminance distrac- tors. Therefore, model-predicted information optimal features interfere with target-oriented saccades, following a dynamic attraction–repulsion pattern. This suggests that the visuo-oculomotor system rapidly and automatically processes optimally informative features while programming visually guided eye movements.