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Exploring and targeting saccades dissociated by saccadic adaptation.

Saccadic adaptation maintains saccade accuracy and has been studied with targeting saccades, i.e. saccades that bring the gaze to a target, with the classical intra-saccadic step procedure in which the target systematically jumps to a new position during saccade execution. Post-saccadic visual feedback about the error between target position and the saccade landing position is crucial to establish and maintain adaptation. However, recent research focusing on two-saccade sequences has shown that exploring saccades, i.e. saccades that explore an object, resists this classical intra-saccadic step procedure but can be adapted by systematically changing the main parameter used for their coding: stimulus size. Here, we adapted an exploring saccade and a targeting saccade in two separate experiments, using the appropriate adaptation procedure, and we tested whether the adaptation induced on one saccade type transferred to the other. We showed that whereas classical targeting saccade adaptation does not transfer to exploring saccades, the reciprocal transfer (i.e., from exploring to targeting saccades) occurred when targeting saccades aimed for a spatially extended stimulus, but not when they aimed for an isolated target. These results show that, in addition to position errors, size errors can drive adaptation, and confirm that exploring vs. targeting a stimulus leads to two different motor planning modes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved)