Predictability in the visual environment provides a powerful cue for efficient processing of scenes and objects. Recently, studies have suggested that the directionality and magnitude of saccade curvature can be informative as to how the visual system processes predictive information. The present study investigated the role of the right posterior parietal cortex (rPPC) in shaping saccade curvatures in the context of predictive and non-predictive visual cues. We used an orienting paradigm that incorporated manipulation of target location predictability and delivered transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over rPPC. Participants were presented with either an informative or uninformative cue to upcoming target locations. Our results showed that rPPC TMS generally increased saccade latency and saccade error rates. Intriguingly, rPPC TMS increased curvatures away from the distractor only when the target location was unpredictable and decreased saccadic errors towards the distractor. These effects on curvature and accuracy were not present when the target location was predictable. These results dissociate the strong contingency between saccade latency and saccade curvature and also indicate that rPPC plays an important role in allocating and suppressing attention to distractors when the target demands visual disambiguation. Furthermore, the present study suggests that, like the frontal eye fields, rPPC is critically involved in determining saccade curvature and the generation of saccadic behaviors under conditions of differing target predictability.
ASJC Scopus subject areas