Saccade metrics reflect decision-making dynamics during urgent choices

Nature Communications
Joshua A SeidemanEmilio Salinas


A perceptual judgment is typically characterized by constructing psychometric and chronometric functions, i.e., by mapping the accuracies and reaction times of motor choices as functions of a sensory stimulus feature dimension. Here, we show that various saccade metrics (e.g., peak velocity) are similarly modulated as functions of sensory cue viewing time during performance of an urgent-decision task. Each of the newly discovered functions reveals the dynamics of the perceptual evaluation process inherent to the underlying judgment. Remarkably, saccade peak velocity correlates with statistical decision confidence, suggesting that saccade kinematics reflect the degree of certainty with which an urgent perceptual decision is made. The data were explained by a race-to-threshold model that also replicates standard performance measures and cortical oculomotor neuronal activity in the task. The results indicate that, although largely stereotyped, saccade metrics carry subtle but reliable traces of the underlying cognitive processes that give rise to each oculomotor choice.


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Related Concepts

Choice Behavior
Decision Making, Shared
Macaca mulatta
Theoretical Study
Oculomotor Nerve Structure
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