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Emma Stewart, Anna Ma-Wyatt; The temporal profile of attention in a perceptual task shifts with a concurrent reach. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):419. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/12.9.419.
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Attention can improve contrast discrimination at the attended location. While the dynamics of this attentional deployment have been studied with regards to saccades, the temporal profile of attention in relation to goal-directed movements is not yet fully understood. The temporal profile of attention during reaching should provide insight into how mechanisms underlying these tasks interact over time. In this study we investigated how the planning and execution of a rapid pointing movement affects the temporal profile of attentional deployment before and during a reach. Participants were presented with two discs indicating potential target locations 10° either side of a central fixation point. A central cue indicated which side the target would appear on. After a variable interval, there was a brief change in contrast at the target location. In the perceptual task, participants were asked to indicate whether they perceived an increment or decrement in contrast, and in the pointing task participants were instructed to make a reach to the cued target in addition to completing the contrast discrimination task. Eye movements were monitored throughout the task. When completing the perceptual task alone, contrast discrimination performance peaked soon after cue offset, consistent with previous findings. With the addition of a reach, contrast discrimination performance improved towards the end of the reach time. These results suggest that attentional guidance may be important for completing a goal directed movement in the last part of the reach.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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