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Heiner Deubel, Rene Gilster, Constanze Hesse; Motor selection and visual attention in manual pointing and grasping. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):1377. doi: 10.1167/13.9.1377.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
It is now well established that goal-directed movements are preceded by covert shifts of visual attention to the movement target. I will first review recent evidence in favour of this claim for manual reaching movements, demonstrating that the planning of some of these actions establishes multiple foci of attention which reflect the spatial–temporal requirements of the intended motor task. Recently our studies have focused on how finger contact points are chosen in grasp planning and how this selection is related to the spatial deployment of attention. Subjects grasped cylindrical objects with thumb and index finger. A perceptual discrimination task was used to assess the distribution of visual attention prior to the execution of the grasp. Results showed enhanced discrimination for those locations where index finger and thumb would touch the object, as compared to the action-irrelevant locations. A same-different task was used to establish that attention was deployed in parallel to the grasp-relevant locations. Interestingly, while attention seemed to split to the action-relevant locations, the eyes tended to fixate the centre of the to-be-grasped object, reflecting a dissociation between overt and covert attention. A separate study demonstrated that a secondary, attention-demanding task affected the kinematics of the grasp, slowing the adjustment of hand aperture to object size. Our results highlight the import role of attention also in grasp planning. The findings are consistent with the conjecture that the planning of complex movements enacts the formation of a flexible "attentional landscape" which tags all those locations in the visual lay-out that are relevant for the impending action.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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