Physiological studies have found that neurons prepare for impending eye movements, showing anticipatory responses to stimuli presented at the location of the post-saccadic receptive fields (RFs) (Wurtz in Vis Res 48:2070-2089, 2008). These studies proposed that visual neurons with shifting RFs prepared for the stimuli they would process after an impending saccade. Additionally, psychophysical studies have shown behavioral consequences of those anticipatory responses, including the transfer of aftereffects (Melcher in Nat Neurosci 10:903-907, 2007) and the remapping of attention (Rolfs et al. in Nat Neurosci 14:252-258, 2011). As the physiological studies proposed, the shifting RF mechanism explains the transfer of aftereffects. Recently, a new mechanism based on activation transfer via a saliency map was proposed, which accounted for the remapping of attention (Cavanagh et al. in Trends Cogn Sci 14:147-153, 2010). We hypothesized that there would be different aspects of the remapping corresponding to these different neural mechanisms. This study found that the information in the background was remapped to a similar extent as the figure, provided that the visual context remained stable. We manipulated the status of the figure and the ground in the saliency map and showed that the manipulation modulated the remapping of the figure and the ground in different ways. These results suggest that the visual system has an ability to remap the background as well as the figure, but lacks the ability to modulate the remapping of the background based on the visual context, and that different neural mechanisms might work together to maintain visual stability across saccades.
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Acknowledgments this research was supported by the Basic science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Education, science and technology (2009-0089090).
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