Head movements modulate visual responsiveness in the absence of gaze shifts,Neuroreport, 8 (19), 831-834.
Visuospatial attention is strongly associated with saccades. Given that gaze shifts are often accomplished by combined eye-head movements, attention may also be coupled to head movements. We showed that simply turning the head without shifting the gaze is sufficient to cause a transient unbalance in responding to a visual stimulus. Manual responses to a stimulus flashed shortly before the onset of a horizontal head movement were faster in congruent trials, when the head moved towards the stimulus, than in incongruent trials, when the head moved away from the stimulus. These effects are similar to those observed for saccades. We take this as evidence for a tight link between visuospatial attention and head movements, even when the gaze does not shift.