Pre-target oculomotor inhibition reflects temporal orienting rather than certainty

Noam Tal-Perry, Shlomit Yuval-Greenberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Recent studies suggested that eye movements are linked to temporal predictability. These studies manipulated predictability by setting the cue-target interval (foreperiod) to be fixed or random throughout the block. Findings showed that pre-target oculomotor behavior was reduced in the fixed relative to the random condition. This effect was interpreted as reflecting the formation of temporal expectation. However, it is unknown whether the effect is driven by target-specific temporal orienting, or rather a result of a more context-dependent state of certainty that participants may experience during blocks with a high predictability rate. In this study we dissociated certainty and orienting in a tilt-discrimination task. In each trial, a temporal cue (fixation color change) was followed by a tilted grating-patch. The foreperiod distribution was varied between blocks to be either fully fixed (same foreperiod in 100% of trials), mostly fixed (80% of trials with one foreperiod and 20% with another) or random (five foreperiods in equal probabilities). The two hypotheses led to different prediction models which were tested against the experimental data. Results were consistent with the orienting hypothesis and inconsistent with the certainty hypothesis, supporting the link between oculomotor inhibition and temporal orienting and its validity as a temporal expectations marker.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21478
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2020


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation1960/19


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