A model of saccade generation based on parallel processing and competitive inhibition
During active vision, the eyes continually scan the visual environment using saccadic scanning movements. This target article presents an information processing model for the control of these movements, with some close parallels to established physiological processes in the oculomotor system. Two separate pathways are concerned with the spatial and the temporal programming of the movement. In the temporal pathway there is spatially distributed coding and the saccade target is selected from a “salience map.” Both pathways descend through a hierarchy of levels, the lower ones operating automatically. Visual onsets have automatic access to the eye control system via the lower levels. Various centres in each pathway are interconnected via reciprocal inhibition. The model accounts for a number of well-established phenomena in target-elicited saccades: the gap effect, express saccades, the remote distractor effect, and the global effect. High-level control of the pathways in tasks such as visual search and reading is discussed; it operates through spatial selection and search selection, which generally combine in an automated way. The model is examined in relation to data from patients with unilateral neglect.
Key Words: competitive interaction; fixation; latency; model; reciprocal inhibition; saccade; salience; search selection; spatial selection; visual attention.