Saccadic adaptation is assumed to be driven by an unconscious and automatic mechanism. We wondered if the adaptation process is accessible to volitional control, specifically whether any change in saccade gain can be inhibited. Participants were exposed to post-saccadic error by using the double-step paradigm in which a target is presented in a peripheral location and then stepped during the saccade to another location. In one condition, participants were instructed to follow the target step and look at the final target location. In the other condition they were instructed to inhibit the adjustment of saccade amplitude and look at the initial target location. We conducted two experiments, which differed in the size of the intra-saccadic target step. We found that when told to inhibit amplitude adjustment, gain change was close to zero for outward steps, but some adaptation remained for inward steps. Saccadic latency was not affected by the instruction type for inward steps, but when the target was stepped outward, latencies were longer in the inhibition than in the adaptation condition. The results show that volitional control can be exerted on saccadic adaptation. We suggest that volitional control affects the remapping of the target, thus having a larger impact on outward adaptation.
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Zusammenfassung( AEnglischA )