Purchase this article with an account.
Diego E. Shalom, Mariano Sigman; Freedom and rules in human sequential performance: A refractory period in eye-hand coordination. Journal of Vision 2015;13(3):4. doi: 10.1167/13.3.4.
Download citation file:
© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
In action sequences, the eyes and hands ought to be coordinated in precise ways. The mechanisms governing the architecture of encoding and action of several effectors remain unknown. Here we study hand and eye movements in a sequential task in which letters have to be typed while they move down through the screen. We observe a strict refractory period of about 200 ms between the initiation of manual and eye movements. Subjects do not initiate a saccade just after typing and do not type just after making the saccade. This refractory period is observed ubiquitously in every subject and in each step of the sequential task, even when keystrokes and saccades correspond to different items of the sequence—for instance when a subject types a letter that has been gazed at in a preceding fixation. These results extend classic findings of dual-task paradigms, of a bottleneck tightly locked to the response selection process, to unbounded serial routines. Interestingly, while the bottleneck is seemingly inevitable, better performing subjects can adopt a strategy to minimize the cost of the bottleneck, overlapping the refractory period with the encoding of the next item in the sequence.
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only