Even during fixation, our eyes are in constant motion. For example, microsaccades are small (typically<1°) eye movements that occur 1~3 times/second. Despite their tiny and transient nature, our percept of visual space is compressed prior to microsaccades (Hafed 2013). As visual space and time are interconnected at both the physical and physiological levels, we asked whether microsaccades also affect the temporal aspects of visual perception. Here we demonstrate that the perceived interval between transient visual stimuli was compressed if accompanied by microsaccades. This temporal compression extended approximately±200ms from microsaccade occurrence, and depending on their particular pattern, multiple microsaccades further enhanced or counteracted this temporal compression. The compression of time surrounding microsaccades resembles that associated with more voluntary macrosaccades (Morrone et al. 2005). Our results suggest common neural processes underlying both saccade and microsaccade misperceptions, mediated, likely, through extra-retinal mechanisms.
- time compression
- time perception
- visual perception
- Copyright © 2017, Journal of Neurophysiology