Paper published in Journal of Vision

by Annegret Meermeier, Svenja Gremmler, and Markus Lappe


Saccadic adaptation aims at keeping saccades accurate to enable precise foveation of objects. It has been believed to be a rather low-level adjustment, responding chiefly to direction and magnitude of postsaccadic position error. However, recent studies have shown that image content can modify saccadic adaptation. Adaptation is more complete for saccades toward socially relevant human figures in comparison to noise when time constraints exist. In the present experiment, we show that saccadic adaptation is also susceptible to the novelty of a stimulus. In a scanning adaptation paradigm, 20 subjects participated in two sessions of forward adaptation to one position at which the same human picture was always displayed versus a position at which a new human figure was presented in every trial. Saccadic adaptation was more complete to the novel-target position. This suggests that novelty can increase oculomotor learning and corroborates the claim that saccadic adaptation includes influences that reflect the target's visual properties. doi: 10.1167/17.11.13