Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Maintaining Fixation . . . with Practice

Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Maintaining Fixation . . . with Practice

Article excerpt

EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL

Guzman-Martinez et al. (2009). Rapid eye-f ixation training without eyetracking. PB&R, 16, 491.

Experiments on attention and psychophysics often require observers to maintain fixation to ensure that the results are due to covert attention or to effects at a specific retinal locus. Unfortunately, the typical solutions for minimizing eye movements can be problematic. Eyetrackers are costly (and underutilized if only used to monitor gaze position), and brief timing parameters are not always feasible when studying certain phenomena.

Enter a potential solution: Train observers to maintain f ixation. Guzman-Martinez et al. did exactly this by showing observers random dot displays. The display flickered, with all black pixels becoming white, and vice versa. When observers maintained fixation, the display appeared to be uniformly gray because of perceptual averaging; if their eyes moved, they perceived instead a black-andwhite pattern. To train fixation, the authors first had observers perform a spatial-cuing task in which a peripheral attentional cue indicated the probable location of a subsequent target. …

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