Low-Level Visual Information Is Maintained across Saccades, Allowing for a Postsaccadic Handoff between Visual Areas

J.H. Fabius, A. Fracasso, David J. Acunzo, S. van der Stigchel, David Melcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Experience seems continuous and detailed despite saccadic eye movements changing retinal input several times per second.
There is debate whether neural signals related to updating across saccades contain information about stimulus features, or
only location pointers without visual details. We investigated the time course of low-level visual information processing
across saccades by decoding the spatial frequency of a stationary stimulus that changed from one visual hemifield to the
other because of a horizontal saccadic eye movement. We recorded magnetoencephalography while human subjects (both
sexes) monitored the orientation of a grating stimulus, making spatial frequency task irrelevant. Separate trials, in which subjects maintained fixation, were used to train a classifier, whose performance was then tested on saccade trials. Decoding performance showed that spatial frequency information of the presaccadic stimulus remained present for ;200 ms after the
saccade, transcending retinotopic specificity. Postsaccadic information ramped up rapidly after saccade offset. There was an
overlap of over 100 ms during which decoding was significant from both presaccadic and postsaccadic processing areas. This
suggests that the apparent richness of perception across saccades may be supported by the continuous availability of low-level
information with a “soft handoff” of information during the initial processing sweep of the new fixation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9476-9486
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2020


  • magnetoencephalography
  • multivariate pattern analysis
  • saccades
  • vision
  • visual stability


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