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Saccade suppression depends on context

  1. Eckart Zimmermann  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of Düsseldorf, Germany
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Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e49700 doi: 10.7554/eLife.49700


Although our eyes are in constant movement, we remain unaware of the high-speed stimulation produced by the retinal displacement. Vision is drastically reduced at the time of saccades. Here, I investigated whether the reduction of the unwanted disturbance could be established through a saccade-contingent habituation to intra-saccadic displacements. In more than 100 context trials, participants were exposed either to an intra-saccadic or to a post-saccadic disturbance or to no disturbance at all. After induction of a specific context, I measured peri-saccadic suppression. Displacement discrimination thresholds of observers were high after participants were exposed to an intra-saccadic disturbance. However, after exposure to a post-saccadic disturbance or a context without any intra-saccadic stimulation, displacement discrimination improved such that observers were able to see shifts as during fixation. Saccade-contingent habituation might explain why we do not perceive trans-saccadic retinal stimulation during saccades.

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Author details

  1. Eckart Zimmermann

    Institute for Experimental Psychology, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-1964-2711


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (ZI/1456)

  • Eckart Zimmermann

H2020 European Research Council (757184)

  • Eckart Zimmermann

The funders supported the current study.


Human subjects: The study was approved by the ethics committee of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf (ZI01-2019-01). Written informed consent about pseudonymized data collection, storage and publication was obtained prior to each experiment in accordance with the declaration of Helsinki.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Marisa Carrasco, New York University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: June 26, 2019
  2. Accepted: March 2, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: March 5, 2020 (version 1)
  4. Accepted Manuscript updated: March 6, 2020 (version 2)
  5. Version of Record published: March 24, 2020 (version 3)
  6. Version of Record updated: March 27, 2020 (version 4)


© 2020, Zimmermann

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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