Covert shifts of attention precede involuntary eye movements

Matthew S. Peterson, Arthur F. Kramer, David E. Irwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is considerable evidence that covert visual attention precedes voluntary eye movements to an intended location. What happens to covert attention when an involuntary saccadic eye movement is made? In agreement with other researchers, we found that attention and voluntary eye movements are tightly coupled in such a way that attention always shifts to the intended location before the eyes begin to move. However, we found that when an involuntary eye movement is made, attention first precedes the eyes to the unintended location and then switches to the intended location, with the eyes following this pattern a short time later. These results support the notion that attention and saccade programming are tightly coupled.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-405
Number of pages8
JournalPerception and Psychophysics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • General Psychology


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