Paola Binda and Maria Concetta Morrone
Vision During Saccadic Eye Movements
Annual Review of Vision Science, 1 (4), 193-213
The perceptual consequences of eye movements are manifold: Each large saccade is accompanied by a drop of sensitivity to luminance-contrast, low-frequency stimuli, impacting both conscious vision and involuntary responses, including pupillary constrictions. They also produce transient distortions of space, time, and number, which cannot be attributed to the mere motion on the retinae. All these are signs that the visual system evokes active processes to predict and counteract the consequences of saccades. We propose that a key mechanism is the reorganization of spatiotemporal visual fields, which transiently increases the temporal and spatial uncertainty of visual representations just before and during saccades. On one hand, this accounts for the spatiotemporal distortions of visual perception; on the other hand, it implements a mechanism for fusing pre- and postsaccadic stimuli. This, together with the active suppression of motion signals, ensures the stability and continuity of our visual experience.