Urgency reveals an attentional vortex during antisaccade performance

Emilio Salinas, Benjamin R Steinberg, Lauren A Sussman, Sophia M Fry, Christopher K Hauser, Denise D Anderson, and Terrence R Stanford

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Dec 06, 2018
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Received Date: 20th November 18

In the antisaccade task, which is considered a sensitive assay of cognitive function, a salient visual cue appears and the participant must look away from it. This requires sensory, motor-planning, and cognitive neural mechanisms. But what are the unique contributions of these mechanisms to performance, and when exactly are they engaged? By introducing an urgency requirement into the antisaccade task, we track the evolution of the choice process with millisecond resolution and find a singular, nonlinear dependence on cue exposure: when viewed briefly (~100-140 ms), the cue captures attention so powerfully that looking at it (erroneously) is virtually inevitable, but as the cue viewing time increases, the probability of success quickly rises and saturates. The psychophysical and modeling results reveal concerted interactions between reflexive and voluntary cognitive mechanisms that (1) unfold extremely rapidly, (2) are qualitatively consistent across participants, and (3) are nevertheless quantitatively distinctive of each individual's perceptual capacities.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.


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