Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2015 October ; 41(5): 1300–1314.


Copyright 2015 American Psychological Association



During scene viewing, saccades directed toward a recently fixated location tend to be delayed relative to saccades in other directions (“delay effect”), an effect attributable to inhibition-of-return (IOR) and/or saccadic momentum (SM). Previous work indicates this effect may be task-specific, suggesting that gaze control parameters are task-relevant and potentially affected by task-switching. Accordingly, the present study investigated task-set control of gaze behavior using the delay effect as a measure of task performance. The delay effect was measured as the effect of relative saccade direction on preceding fixation duration. Participants were cued on each trial to perform either a search, memory, or rating task. Tasks were performed either in pure-task or mixed-task blocks. This design allowed separation of switch-cost and mixing-cost. The critical result was that expression of the delay effect at 2-back locations was reversed on switch versus repeat trials such that return was delayed in repeat trials but speeded in switch trials. This difference between repeat and switch trials suggests that gaze-relevant parameters may be represented and switched as part of a task-set. Existing and new tests for dissociating IOR and SM accounts of the delay effect converged on the conclusion that the delay at 2-back locations was due to SM, and that task-switching affects SM. Additionally, the new test simultaneously replicated non-corroborating results in the literature regarding facilitation-of-return (FOR), which confirmed its existence and showed that FOR is “reversed” SM that occurs when preceding and current saccades are both directed toward the 2-back location.

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