When saccadic eye movements consistently fail to land on their intended target, saccade accuracy is maintained by gradually adapting the movement size of successive saccades. The proposed error signal for saccade adaptation has been based on the distance between where the eye lands and the visual target (retinal error). We studied whether the error signal could alternatively be based on the distance between the predicted and actual locus of attention after the saccade. Unlike conventional adaptation experiments that surreptitiously displace the target once a saccade is initiated towards it, we instead attempted to draw attention away from the target by briefly presenting salient distractor images on one side of the target after the saccade. To test whether less salient, more predictable distractors would induce less adaptation, we separately used fixed random noise distractors. We found that both visual attention distractors were able to induce a small degree of downward saccade adaptation but significantly more to the more salient distractors. As in conventional adaptation experiments, upward adaptation was less effective and salient distractors did not significantly increase amplitudes. We conclude that the locus of attention after the saccade can act as an error signal for saccade adaptation.
Khan, A., McFadden, S. A., Harwood, M. & Wallman, J. (2014). Salient Distractors Can Induce Saccade Adaptation. Journal of Ophthalmology, 2014, 585792. doi:10.1155/2014/585792.