Inhibition of attended processing during saccadic eye movements

James R. Brockmole, Laura A. Carlson, David E. Irwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


People are unable to perform some, but not all, cognitive tasks while moving their eyes. A possible common denominator among disrupted processes is the use of attention. The present research proposes and tests an attentional suppression hypothesis to evaluate this claim. This hypothesis states that because attention is obligatorily allocated to a to-be-fixated location prior to the onset of a saccade during saccadic events attentional resources are unavailable to direct processing associated with higher order cognitive tasks. Subjects were engaged in a task that combined saccades and shifts of attention across global and local levels of hierarchical figures. When the eyes did not move, this shift took place between stimulus presentations. When saccades intervened between the stimuli, the global-local shifts of attention were interrupted, suggesting that saccades suppress cognitive processes requiring attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)867-881
Number of pages15
JournalPerception and Psychophysics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Psychology(all)

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