The antisaccade task: visual distractors elicit a location-independent planning 'cost'
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The presentation of a remote - but not proximal - distractor concurrent with target onset increases prosaccade reaction times (RT) (i.e., the remote distractor effect: RDE). The competitive integration model asserts that the RDE represents the time required to resolve the conflict for a common saccade threshold between target- and distractor-related saccade generating commands in the superior colliculus. To our knowledge however, no previous research has examined whether remote and proximal distractors differentially influence antisaccade RTs. This represents a notable question because antisaccades require decoupling of the spatial relations between stimulus and response (SR) and therefore provide a basis for determining whether the sensory- and/or motor-related features of a distractor influence response planning. Participants completed pro- and antisaccades in a target-only condition and conditions wherein the target was concurrently presented with a proximal or remote distractor. As expected, prosaccade RTs elicited a reliable RDE. In contrast, antisaccade RTs were increased independent of the distractor's spatial location and the magnitude of the effect was comparable across each distractor location. Thus, distractor-related antisaccade RT costs are not accounted for by a competitive integration between conflicting saccade generating commands. Instead, we propose that a visual distractor increases uncertainty related to the evocation of the response-selection rule necessary for decoupling SR relations.