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HIH News

More than a twich: microsaccades are voluntary eye movements

Microsaccades are not involuntary, spontaneous eye movements, as it has been assumed. Instead, we can perform them at will. A team led by Professor Dr. Ziad Hafed provide evidence against the prevailing view in the current issue of Nature Communications. They demonstrate that the tiny, rapid eye movements show different characteristics of voluntary behavior. “The results completely change the role we attribute to these eye movements in vision, cognition, and memory. Now, one has to consider microsaccades as genuine, purposeful movements,” Hafed says. As a consequence, neuroscientists need to pay more attention to them in the future: microsaccades occur in every experiment in which eye movements are fixated.

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