Amplitude transition function of human express saccades.
The gap paradigm often promotes the occurrence of express saccades, which are supposed to be short latency, visually guided saccades, often forming a separate peak in saccadic latency distribution. We designed six experiments in which we compared the amplitudes of anticipatory, express and regular saccades, for various conditions of target eccentricities, target direction, and predictability. Then, saccadic amplitude was expressed as a continuous function of latency, for the various target eccentricities. From the obtained results, it is proposed that a saccade of a given amplitude is prepared during the gap period, on the basis of internal cues. The latency range of express saccades is a transition zone when the target begins to influence the already prepared saccade. The resulting amplitude will be a weighted average of the value determined during the gap and of the value defined by the target, the weighting being determined by the latency of the saccade. If the preprogrammed saccade is wrongly directed, the target will not be able to correct the saccadic amplitude and the express saccade will have the same amplitude as anticipatory saccades. Regular saccades are delayed sufficiently so that a wrongly directed preprogrammed saccade can be canceled or the amplitude of a rightly directed saccade can be adjusted according to the exact position of the visual target.