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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

How long it takes the brain to initiate a saccade has been a fundamental measure in sensorimotor research. Yet key questions remain about what determines saccade latency, even in the simplest of circumstances. In this chapter I discuss what makes some saccades fast while others are slow, and also briefly outline some established ways of manipulating saccade latency. A central question is why saccade latency varies so much even when all the stimuli and task requirements are kept the same. A related question is why most saccades to simple stimuli seem slower than they need to be. The chapter limits itself to simple cases of making saccades to onset targets, and does not examine latency or fixation duration in more complex visual search tasks, image viewing, or reading.

Keywords: saccade latency, oculomotor models, mean latency, biological limitations, rise-to-threshold

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