The effect of saccades on number processing

David E. Irwin, Laura E. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent research has shown that saccadic eye movements interfere with dorsal-stream tasks such as judgments of object orientation, but not with ventral-stream tasks such as object recognition. Because saccade programming and execution also rely on the dorsal stream, it has been hypothesized that cognitive saccadic suppression occurs as a result of dual-task interference within the dorsal stream. Judging whether one number is larger or smaller than another (magnitude comparison) is a dorsal-stream task that relies especially on the right parietal cortex. In contrast, judging whether a number is odd or even (parity judgment) does not involve the dorsal stream. In the present study, one group of subjects judged whether two-digit numbers were greater than or less than 65, whereas another group judged whether two-digit numbers were odd or even. Subjects in both groups made these judgments while making no, short, or long saccades. Saccade distance had no effect on parity judgments, but reaction times to make magnitude comparison judgments increased with saccade distance when the eyes moved from right to left. Because the right parietal cortex is instrumental in generating leftward saccades, these results provide further evidence for the hypothesis that cognitive suppression during saccades occurs as a result of dual-task interference within the dorsal stream.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-458
Number of pages9
JournalPerception and Psychophysics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of saccades on number processing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this