Despite their small size, microsaccades can impede stimulus detections if executed at inopportune times. Although it has been shown that microsaccades evoke both inhibitory and excitatory responses across different visual regions, their impact on the higher-level neural decision processes that bridge sensory responses to action selection has yet to be examined. Here, we show that when human observers monitor stimuli for subtle feature changes, the occurrence of microsaccades long after (up to 800 ms) change onset predicts slower reaction times and this is accounted for by momentary suppression of neural signals at each key stage of decision formation: visual evidence encoding, evidence accumulation, and motor preparation. Our data further reveal that, independent of the timing of the change events, the onset of neural decision formation coincides with a systematic inhibition of microsaccade production, persisting until the perceptual report is executed. Our combined behavioral and neural measures highlight antagonistic interactions between microsaccade occurrence and evidence accumulation during visual decision-making tasks.
Trinity College Dublin ->