Knowing the future: partial foreknowledge effects on the programming of prosaccades and antisaccades

Abegg, Mathias; Manoach, Dara S.; Barton, Jason J. S. (2011). Knowing the future: partial foreknowledge effects on the programming of prosaccades and antisaccades. Vision Research, 51(1), pp. 215-221. Elsevier Science 10.1016/j.visres.2010.11.006

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Foreknowledge about the demands of an upcoming trial may be exploited to optimize behavioural responses. In the current study we systematically investigated the benefits of partial foreknowledge--that is, when some but not all aspects of a future trial are known in advance. For this we used an ocular motor paradigm with horizontal prosaccades and antisaccades. Predictable sequences were used to create three partial foreknowledge conditions: one with foreknowledge about the stimulus location only, one with foreknowledge about the task set only, and one with foreknowledge about the direction of the required response only. These were contrasted with a condition of no-foreknowledge and a condition of complete foreknowledge about all three parameters. The results showed that the three types of foreknowledge affected saccadic efficiency differently. While foreknowledge about stimulus-location had no effect on efficiency, task foreknowledge had some effect and response-foreknowledge was as effective as complete foreknowledge. Foreknowledge effects on switch costs followed a similar pattern in general, but were not specific for switching of the trial attribute for which foreknowledge was available. We conclude that partial foreknowledge has a differential effect on efficiency, most consistent with preparatory activation of a motor schema in advance of the stimulus, with consequent benefits for both switched and repeated trials.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Ophthalmology

UniBE Contributor:

Abegg, Mathias


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Elsevier Science




Mathias Abegg

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:12

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:02

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:


URI: (FactScience: 205486)

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