Looking ahead: The perceived direction of gaze shifts before the eyes move

Amelia R. Hunt, Patrick Cavanagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


How do we know where we are looking? Our direction of gaze is commonly thought to be assigned to the location in the world that falls on our fovea, but this may not always hold, especially, as we report here, just before an eye movement. Observers shifted their gaze to a clock with a fast-moving hand and reported the time perceived to be on the clock when their eyes first landed. The reported time was 39 ms earlier than the actual time the eyes arrived. In a control condition, the clock moved to the eyes, mimicking the retinal motion but without the eye movement. Here the reported time lagged 27 ms behind the actual time on the clock when it arrived. The timing of perceived fixation in our experiment is similar to that for the predictive activation observed in visual cortex neurons at the time of eye movements.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2009


  • eye movements
  • stable perception
  • consciousness


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