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Francisco Colino, John De Grosbois, Gavin Buckingham, Matthew Heath, Gordon Binsted; Rapid Visuomotor Integration of flanking valenced objects. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):1060. doi: 10.1167/10.7.1060.
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Significant neurobehavioral evidence suggests a discrete segregation between the pathways associated with visual perception (i.e., ventral projections) and those ascribed visuo-motor functions (i.e., dorsal projections; in humans, see Milner & Goodale 2008; in non-human primates see Ungerleider & Mishkin 1982). In general the dorsal stream appears to be specialized for processing veridical and egocentrically coded cues in a fashion that is independent of conscious awareness (e.g., Binsted et al. 2007). Conversely, the ventral stream considers the relational characteristics of visual objects and scenes to arrive at a richly detailed percept. However, demonstrations of dorsal insensitivity to perceptually driven object features have failed to address valence as an action moderator despite its apparent evolutionary relevance. Moreover, valenced cues have been observed to modify motor behavior in non-human primates (fear conditioning; Mineka et al. 1984). Thus, it follows that the human visuo-motor system should rapidly integrate abstract scene cues (e.g., valence) to reach a goal while avoiding potential dangers (e.g., predation). To examine this we asked participants to point to visual targets that were randomly flanked by valenced images chosen from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS: e.g., bear cub, gun). All pointing movements had 50 cm amplitude; the target was withdrawn upon movement initiation while the valenced flanker remained. Participant endpoint position was driven towards negatively valenced objects and driven away from positively valenced objects. Thus, it appears the visuomotor system does not restrict its visual set. Rather, it appears to rapidly integrate perceptual interpretations of abstract and contextual cues for movement adaptation.
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