Recent studies provide evidence for task-specific influences on saccadic eye movements. For instance, saccades exhibit higher peak velocity when the task requires coordinating eye and hand movements. The current study shows that the need to process task-relevant visual information at the saccade endpoint can be, in itself, sufficient to cause such effects. In this study, participants performed a visual discrimination task which required a saccade for successful completion. We compared the characteristics of these task-related saccades to those of classical target-elicited saccades, which required participants to fixate a visual target without performing a discrimination task. The results show that task-related saccades are faster and initiated earlier than target-elicited saccades. Differences between both saccade types are also noted in their saccade reaction time distributions and their main sequences, i.e., the relationship between saccade velocity, duration, and amplitude.
ASJC Scopus subject areas