Exp-Brain-Res. 89:214-222, 1

Weber, H., Aiple, F., Fischer, B., and Latanov, A.
Dead zone for express saccades.


The saccadic eye movements of three humans and one non-human primate (a male rhesus monkey) have been measured for target eccentricities between 0.3 and 15 deg.

With a gap task (fixation point offset precedes target onset by 200 ms) and a target at 4 deg, all subjects produced reasonable amounts of express saccades as indicated by a clear peak in the distribution of their saccadic reaction times (SRT): about 100 ms in human subjects and 70 ms in the monkey.

This peak disappeared with decreasing target eccentricity below 2 deg, but saccades of longer (regular) reaction times were still present.

Thus it was found that there exists a dead zone for express saccades. In addition, small saccades have a much stronger tendency to overshoot the target and their velocity falls above the main sequence as defined by the least square fit of an exponential v = vo(1-exp(-a/ao)) to the maximal velocity (v) versus amplitude (a) relationship (vo and ao are constants fitted). It is concluded that for small saccades the express way is blocked functionally or does not exist anatomically.

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