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Stimulus sequence effects on human express saccades described by a Markov model

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Express saccades predominantly occur in experiments employing the gap paradigm where the target onset is separated from the fixation point offset by a blank period. Their relative frequency is distinctly influenced by catch trials (i.e. trials without a saccadic target) mixed into the stream of regular target trials. Generalizing this concept for other stimulus uncertainties (direction, amplitude), we found that the preparation time of a saccade depends on both the type of uncertainty used and the sequence of trial type (e.g., target vs catch, left vs right) in the experiment. This stimulus sequence effect is most prominent for catch trials. A similar but less pronounced effect can still be observed in the case of direction uncertainty but not in that of amplitude uncertainty. A two-state Markov process model is proposed which is based on the dichotomy of express and regular saccades in the gap paradigm. According to this model the actual state of the saccadic system, which determines the type of saccade just in preparation, depends on the “trial history”. The implications for models of saccade programming are discussed.

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Correspondence to Werner Wolf.

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Jüttner, M., Wolf, W. Stimulus sequence effects on human express saccades described by a Markov model. Biol. Cybern. 70, 247–253 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00197605

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  • Markov Model
  • Trial Type
  • Catch Trial
  • Target Onset
  • Target Trial