Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Coninuing Commentary

Suppression of motion during saccades

David C. Burra1

a1 Istituto di Neurofisiologia del CNR, Pisa, Italy, [email protected]

Commentary on Bruce Bridgeman, A. H. C. Van der Heijden, and Boris M. Velichkovsky (1994) A theory of visual stability across saccadic eye movements. BBS 17:247–292


Saccadic eye movements create (at least) two related but distinct problems for the visual system: they cause rapid image motion and a displacement of the retinal image. Although it is often assumed that the motion is too fast to be resolved, this is certainly not the case for low-spatial-frequency images. Recent experiments have suggested that the reason we are unaware of the motion during saccades is because motion channels are selectively suppressed, possibly by suppression of the magno-cellular (but not the parvocellular) pathway. This suppression may explain why there is no sensation of motion during saccades, but it leaves open the problem of perceiving a stable world despite continual image displacements.