Saliency and priority modulation in a pop-out paradigm: Pupil size and microsaccades

Chin An Wang, Jeff Huang, Donald C. Brien, Douglas P. Munoz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


A salient stimulus can trigger a coordinated orienting response consisting of a saccade, pupil, and microsaccadic responses. Saliency models predict that the degree of visual conspicuity of all visual stimuli guides visual orienting. By presenting a multiple-item array that included an oddball colored item (pop-out), randomly mixed colored items (mixed-color), or single-color items (single-color), we examined the effects of saliency and priority (saliency + relevancy) on pupil size and microsaccade responses. Larger pupil responses were produced in the pop-out compared to the mixed-color or single-color conditions after stimulus presentation. However, the saliency modulation on microsaccades was not significant. Furthermore, although goal-relevancy information did not modulate pupil responses and microsaccade rate, microsaccade direction was biased toward the pop-out item when it was the subsequent saccadic target. Together, our results demonstrate saliency modulation on pupil size and priority effects on microsaccade direction during visual pop-out.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107901
JournalBiological Psychology
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Bottom-up
  • Fixational eye movement
  • Orienting
  • Pupillometry
  • superior colliculus
  • Top-down

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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