During optokinetic nystagmus (OKN) the mean eye position of gaze (the beating field) shifts in the direction of the fast phases. The function of this shift may be to re-orient the eyes in the direction of self-motion which optic flow implies (in-coming field). This idea leads to the hypothesis that visual attention may be directed toward the In-coming field. In Experiment 1, subjects detected a visual flash presented against unidirectional field motion. The OKN beating field was shifted toward the In-coming field, and manual reaction times were shorter when the target appeared in the In-coming field. Experiment 2 revealed that this In-coming field advantage occurred even when OKN (and thus the mean eye-position shift) was suppressed. Subsequent experiments showed that the In-coming field advantage is not due to a local motion interaction (Experiment 3), survives subject's voluntary allocation of attention (Experiment 4), and develops over less than 320 ms after the onset of the motion field (Experiment 5). These results suggest that unidirectional field motion tends to automatically shift visual attention toward the In-coming field.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems