Parallel programming of saccades during natural scene viewing: evidence from eye movement positions

Esther X.W. Wu, Syed Omer Gilani, Jeroen J.A. van Boxtel, Ido Amihai, Fook Kee Chua, Shih Cheng Yen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies have shown that saccade plans during natural scene viewing can be programmed in parallel. This evidence comes mainly from temporal indicators, i.e., fixation durations and latencies. In the current study, we asked whether eye movement positions recorded during scene viewing also reflect parallel programming of saccades. As participants viewed scenes in preparation for a memory task, their inspection of the scene was suddenly disrupted by a transition to another scene. We examined whether saccades after the transition were invariably directed immediately toward the center or were contingent on saccade onset times relative to the transition. The results, which showed a dissociation in eye movement behavior between two groups of saccades after the scene transition, supported the parallel programming account. Saccades with relatively long onset times (>100 ms) after the transition were directed immediately toward the center of the scene, probably to restart scene exploration. Saccades with short onset times (<100 ms) moved to the center only one saccade later. Our data on eye movement positions provide novel evidence of parallel programming of saccades during scene viewing. Additionally, results from the analyses of intersaccadic intervals were also consistent with the parallel programming hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


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