The temporal impulse response underlying saccadic decisions
Ludwig, C.J.H., Gilchrist, I.D., McSorley, E. and Baddeley, R.J. (2005) The temporal impulse response underlying saccadic decisions. Journal of Neuroscience, 25 (43). pp. 9907-9912. ISSN 0270-6474
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1523/jneurosci.2197-05.2005
Models of perceptual decision making often assume that sensory evidence is accumulated over time in favor of the various possible decisions, until the evidence in favor of one of them outweighs the evidence for the others. Saccadic eye movements are among the most frequent perceptual decisions that the human brain performs. We used stochastic visual stimuli to identify the temporal impulse response underlying saccadic eye movement decisions. Observers performed a contrast search task, with temporal variability in the visual signals. In experiment 1, we derived the temporal filter observers used to integrate the visual information. The integration window was restricted to the first similar to 100 ms after display onset. In experiment 2, we showed that observers cannot perform the task if there is no useful information to distinguish the target from the distractor within this time epoch. We conclude that (1) observers did not integrate sensory evidence up to a criterion level, (2) observers did not integrate visual information up to the start of the saccadic dead time, and (3) variability in saccade latency does not correspond to variability in the visual integration period. Instead, our results support a temporal filter model of saccadic decision making. The temporal impulse response identified by our methods corresponds well with estimates of integration times of V1 output neurons.