Differential effects of the Müller-Lyer illusion on reflexive and voluntary saccades

Jason S. McCarley, Arthur F. Kramer, Gregory J. DiGirolamo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research has produced conflicting evidence as to whether saccade programming is or is not biased by perceptual illusions. However, previous studies have generally not distinguished between effects of illusory percepts on reflexive saccades, programmed automatically in response to an external visual signal, and voluntary saccades, programmed purposively to a location where no signal has occurred. Here we find that voluntary and reflexive saccades are differentially susceptible to the Müller-Lyer illusion; reflexive movements are reliably but modestly affected by the illusion, whereas voluntary movements show an effect similar to that of perceptual judgments. Results suggest that voluntary saccade programming occurs within a non-retinotopic spatial representation similar to that of visual consciousness, whereas reflexive saccade programming occurs within a representation integrating retinotopic and higher level spatial frames. The effects of the illusion on reflexive saccades are not subject to endogenous control, nor are they modulated by the strength of an exogenous target signal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-760
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of vision
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 4 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Illusions
  • Saccades
  • Visually guided behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


Dive into the research topics of 'Differential effects of the Müller-Lyer illusion on reflexive and voluntary saccades'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this