Transfer of Predictive Signals Across Saccades
Predicting visual information facilitates efficient processing of visual signals. Higher visual areas can support the processing of incoming visual information by generating predictive models that are fed back to lower visual areas. Functional brain imaging has previously shown that predictions interact with visual input already at the level of the primary visual cortex (V1; Harrison et al., 2007; Alink et al., 2010). Given that fixation changes up to four times a second in natural viewing conditions, cortical predictions are effective in V1 only if they are fed back in time for the processing of the next stimulus and at the corresponding new retinotopic position. Here, we tested whether spatio-temporal predictions are updated before, during, or shortly after an inter-hemifield saccade is executed, and thus, whether the predictive signal is transferred swiftly across hemifields. Using an apparent motion illusion, we induced an internal motion model that is known to produce a spatio-temporal prediction signal along the apparent motion trace in V1 (Muckli et al., 2005; Alink et al., 2010). We presented participants with both visually predictable and unpredictable targets on the apparent motion trace. During the task, participants saccaded across the illusion whilst detecting the target. As found previously, predictable stimuli were detected more frequently than unpredictable stimuli. Furthermore, we found that the detection advantage of predictable targets is detectable as early as 50-100 ms after saccade offset. This result demonstrates the rapid nature of the transfer of a spatio-temporally precise predictive signal across hemifields, in a paradigm previously shown to modulate V1.