Saccade reaction time asymmetries during task-switching in pursuit tracking

Hans Joachim Bieg, Jean Pierre Bresciani, Heinrich H. Bülthoff, Lewis L. Chuang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate how smooth pursuit eye movements affect the latencies of task-switching saccades. Participants had to alternate their foveal vision between a continuous pursuit task in the display center and a discrete object discrimination task in the periphery. The pursuit task was either carried out by following the target with the eyes only (ocular) or by steering an on-screen cursor with a joystick (oculomanual). We measured participants' saccadic reaction times (SRTs) when foveal vision was shifted from the pursuit task to the discrimination task and back to the pursuit task. Our results show asymmetries in SRTs depending on the movement direction of the pursuit target: SRTs were generally shorter in the direction of pursuit. Specifically, SRTs from the pursuit target were shorter when the discrimination object appeared in the motion direction. SRTs to pursuit were shorter when the pursuit target moved away from the current fixation location. This result was independent of the type of smooth pursuit behavior that was performed by participants (ocular/oculomanual). The effects are discussed in regard to asymmetries in attention and processes that suppress saccades at the onset of pursuit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-281
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We thank Dr. Frank Nieuwenhuizen for his comments and suggestions. This research was supported by the Max Planck Society, by the myCopter project, funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Program, and by the WCU (World Class University) program funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology through the National Research Foundation of Korea (R31-10008).


  • Attention
  • Distraction
  • Eye movements
  • Pursuit tracking
  • Reaction time
  • Saccades
  • Smooth pursuit
  • Task-switching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Saccade reaction time asymmetries during task-switching in pursuit tracking'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this