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Elements of exogenous attentional cueing preserved during optokinetic motion of the visual scene

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Navigating through our environment raises challenges for perception by generating salient background visual motion and eliciting prominent eye movements to stabilise the retinal image. It remains unclear if exogenous spatial attentional orienting is possible during background motion and the eye movements it causes and whether this compromises the underlying neural processing. To test this, we combined exogenous orienting, visual scene motion, and electroencephalography (EEG). A total of 26 participants viewed a background of moving black and grey bars (optokinetic stimulation). We tested for effects of non-spatially predictive peripheral cueing on visual motion discrimination of a target dot, presented either at the same (valid) or opposite (invalid) location as the preceding cue. Valid cueing decreased reaction times not only when participants kept their gaze fixed on a central point (fixation blocks) but also even when there was no fixation point, so that participants performed intensive, repetitive tracking eye movements (eye movement blocks). Overall, manual response reaction times were slower during eye movements. Cueing also produced reliable effects on neural activity on either block, including within the first 120 ms of neural processing of the target. The key pattern with larger event-related potential (ERP) amplitudes on invalid versus valid trials showed that the neural substrate of exogenous cueing was highly similar during eye movements or fixation. Exogenous peripheral cueing and its neural correlates are robust against distraction from the moving visual scene, important for perceptual cognition during navigation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)746-761
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • ERP, exogenous attention, optokinetic nystagmus, slow eye movements, visual perception

ID: 70542636