The omnipresent prolongation of visual fixations: Saccades are inhibited by changes in situation and in subject's activity

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Presenting a distractor prolongs not only saccadic reaction times in paced tasks but also fixation durations in unpaced tasks. To investigate whether the effect of a distractor is a pure optomotor reflex, we used both visual and auditory distractors in an unpaced picture-viewing paradigm. Results show a distractor effect for both modalities. Analysis of data from previous studies showed similar effects, even in amodal shifts of attention. These findings challenge the hypothesis that the effect is modality-specific and suggest that the distractor effect may be another expression of the orienting reflex.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3345-3351
Number of pages7
JournalVision Research
Issue number25-26
Publication statusPublished - 2001

External IDs

PubMed 11718778
ORCID /0000-0002-6673-9591/work/142659357


ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • Auditory distractors, Distractor effect, Opotomotor reflex, Saccade inhibition, Saccade latency, Visual distractors