Saccade execution increases the preview effect with faces: An EEG and eye-tracking coregistration study

Christoph Huber-Huber, David Melcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Under naturalistic viewing conditions, humans conduct about three to four saccadic eye movements per second. These dynamics imply that in real life, humans rarely see something completely new; there is usually a preview of the upcoming foveal input from extrafoveal regions of the visual field. In line with results from the field of reading research, we have shown with EEG and eye-tracking coregistration that an extrafoveal preview also affects postsaccadic visual object processing and facilitates discrimination. Here, we ask whether this preview effect in the fixation-locked N170, and in manual responses to the postsaccadic target face (tilt discrimination), requires saccade execution. Participants performed a gaze-contingent experiment in which extrafoveal face images could change their orientation during a saccade directed to them. In a control block, participants maintained stable gaze throughout the experiment and the extrafoveal face reappeared foveally after a simulated saccade latency. Compared with this no-saccade condition, the neural and the behavioral preview effects were much larger in the saccade condition. We also found shorter first fixation durations after an invalid preview, which is in contrast to reading studies. We interpret the increased preview effect under saccade execution as the result of the additional sensorimotor processes that come with gaze behavior compared with visual perception under stable fixation. In addition, our findings call into question whether EEG studies with fixed gaze capture key properties and dynamics of active, natural vision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Eye movements
  • Methods: VEP, EEG, fixation-related potentials
  • Perception and action

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sensory Systems
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Saccade execution increases the preview effect with faces: An EEG and eye-tracking coregistration study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this