Retinal Masking During Pursuit Eye Movements: Implications for Spatiotopic Visual Persistence

Jun Shi Sun, David E. Irwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


White (1976) reported that presentation of a masking stimulus during a pursuit eye movement interfered with the perception of a target stimulus that shared the same spatial, rather than retinal, coordinates as the mask. This finding has been interpreted as evidence for the existence of spatiotopic visual persistence. We doubted White's results because they implied a high degree of position constancy during pursuit eye movements, contrary to previous research, and because White did not monitor subjects' eye position during pursuit; if White's subjects did not make continuous pursuit eye movements, it might appear that masking was spatial when in fact it was retinal. We attempted to replicate White's results and found that when eye position was monitored to ensure that subjects made continuous pursuit movements, masking was retinal rather than spatial. Subjects' phenomenal impressions also indicated that retinal, rather than spatial, factors underlay performance in this task. The implications of these and other results regarding the existence of spatiotopic visual persistence are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-145
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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