Presaccadic attention improves or impairs performance by enhancing sensitivity to higher spatial frequencies

Hsin Hung Li, Jasmine Pan, Marisa Carrasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Right before we move our eyes, visual performance and neural responses for the saccade target are enhanced. This effect, presaccadic attention, is considered to prioritize the saccade target and to enhance behavioral performance for the saccade target. Recent evidence has shown that presaccadic attention modulates the processing of feature information. Hitherto, it remains unknown whether presaccadic modulations on feature information are flexible, to improve performance for the task at hand, or automatic, so that they alter the featural representation similarly regardless of the task. Using a masking procedure, here we report that presaccadic attention can either improve or impair performance depending on the spatial frequency content of the visual input. These counterintuitive modulations were significant at a time window right before saccade onset. Furthermore, merely deploying covert attention within the same temporal interval without preparing a saccade did not affect performance. This study reveals that presaccadic attention not only prioritizes the saccade target, but also automatically modifies its featural representation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2659
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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