1. Neuroscience
Download icon

Saccade suppression depends on context

  1. Eckart Zimmermann  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of Düsseldorf, Germany
Short Report
  • Cited 0
  • Views 1,043
  • Annotations
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.

Article and author information

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.


  • 1,043
    Page views
  • 140
  • 0

Article citation count generated by polling the highest count across the following sources: Crossref, PubMed Central, Scopus.

Download links

A two-part list of links to download the article, or parts of the article, in various formats.

Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)

Download citations (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)

Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)

Further reading

    1. Developmental Biology
    2. Neuroscience
    Maria Schörnig et al.
    Research Article

    We generated induced excitatory neurons (iNeurons, iNs) from chimpanzee, bonobo and human stem cells by expressing the transcription factor neurogenin‑2 (NGN2). Single cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) showed that genes involved in dendrite and synapse development are expressed earlier during iNs maturation in the chimpanzee and bonobo than the human cells. In accordance, during the first two weeks of differentiation, chimpanzee and bonobo iNs showed repetitive action potentials and more spontaneous excitatory activity than human iNs, and extended neurites of higher total length. However, the axons of human iNs were slightly longer at 5 weeks of differentiation. The timing of the establishment of neuronal polarity did not differ between the species. Chimpanzee, bonobo and human neurites eventually reached the same level of structural complexity. Thus, human iNs develop slower than chimpanzee and bonobo iNs and this difference in timing likely depends on functions downstream of NGN2.

    1. Neuroscience
    Magda Dubois et al.
    Research Article Updated

    An exploration-exploitation trade-off, the arbitration between sampling a lesser-known against a known rich option, is thought to be solved using computationally demanding exploration algorithms. Given known limitations in human cognitive resources, we hypothesised the presence of additional cheaper strategies. We examined for such heuristics in choice behaviour where we show this involves a value-free random exploration, that ignores all prior knowledge, and a novelty exploration that targets novel options alone. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled drug study, assessing contributions of dopamine (400 mg amisulpride) and noradrenaline (40 mg propranolol), we show that value-free random exploration is attenuated under the influence of propranolol, but not under amisulpride. Our findings demonstrate that humans deploy distinct computationally cheap exploration strategies and that value-free random exploration is under noradrenergic control.