Saccadic target selection as a function of time
Recent evidence indicates that stimulus-driven and goal-directed control of visual selection operate independently and in different time windows (van Zoest et al., 2004). The present study further investigates how eye movements are affected by stimulus-driven and goal-directed control. Observers were presented with search displays consisting of one target, multiple non-targets and one distractor element. The task of observers was to make a fast eye movement to a target immediately following the offset of a central fixation point, an event that either co-occurred with or soon followed the presentation of the search display. Distractor saliency and target-distractor similarity were independently manipulated. The results demonstrated that the effect of distractor saliency was transient and only present for the fastest eye movements, whereas the effect of target-distractor similarity was sustained and present in all but the fastest eye movements. The results support an independent timing account of visual selection.