Involuntary oculomotor inhibition markers of saliency and deviance in response to auditory sequences

Oren Kadosh, Yoram S. Bonneh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Our eyes move constantly but are often inhibited momentarily in response to external stimuli (oculomotor inhibition [OMI]), depending on the stimulus saliency, anticipation, and attention. Previous studies have shown prolonged OMI for auditory oddballs; however, they required counting the oddballs, possibly reflecting voluntary attention. Here, we investigated whether the “passive” OMI response to auditory deviants can provide a quantitative measure of deviance strength (pitch difference) and studied its dependence on the inter-trial interval (ITI). Participants fixated centrally and passively listened to repeated short sequences of pure tones that contained a deviant tone either regularly or with 20% probability (oddballs). In an “active” control experiment, participants counted the deviant or the standard. As in previous studies, the results showed prolonged microsaccade inhibition and increased pupil dilation following the rare deviant tone. Earlier inhibition onset was found in proportion to the pitch deviance (the saliency effect), and a later release was found for oddballs, but only for ITI <2.5 seconds. The active control experiment showed similar results when counting the deviant but longer OMI for the standard when counting it. Taken together, these results suggest that OMI provides involuntary markers of saliency and deviance, which can be obtained without the participant's response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

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  • ISI
  • anticipation
  • attention
  • auditory deviant
  • blink
  • microsaccade
  • oculomotor inhibition (OMI)
  • oddball
  • passive attentive
  • passive listening
  • passive viewing
  • pupil
  • saccadic inhibition
  • saliency


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