The intriguing interactive relationship between attention and eye movements

30 November 2011
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We normally find it difficult to attend to a stimulus of interest in our visual field without shifting our gaze towards it. It is almost as if we have an urge to shift our gaze to where we attend to. This has often been interpreted as indicating that attending to a particular area in the visual field involves preparation for an eye movement to that location. The relationship between attention and eye movements has been investigated in a lot of studies in recent years and the evidence suggests that before a saccadic eye movement is made, attention shifts to the upcoming saccade landing point. In addition, eye movements and attention share the same neural resources, at least to a considerable extent. The relation between attention is, however, in some cases not as tight as previously thought, and some notable exceptions to the interrelation of saccadic eye movements and attention have been reported.