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Aarlenne Z. Khan, Joo-Hyun Song, Robert M. McPeek; The eye dominates in guiding attention during simultaneous eye and hand movements. Journal of Vision 2011;11(1):9. doi: 10.1167/11.1.9.
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Prior to the onset of a saccade or a reach, attention is directed to the goal of the upcoming movement. However, it remains unknown whether attentional resources are shared across effectors for simultaneous eye and hand movements. Using a 4-AFC shape discrimination task, we investigated attentional allocation during the planning of a saccade alone, reach alone, or combined saccade and reach to one of five peripheral locations. Target discrimination was better when the probe appeared at the goal of the impending movement than when it appeared elsewhere. However, discrimination performance at the movement goal was not better for combined eye–hand movements compared to either effector alone, suggesting a shared limited attentional resource rather than separate pools of effector-specific attention. To test which effector dominates in guiding attention, we then separated eye and hand movement goals in two conditions: (1) cued reach/fixed saccade—subjects made saccades to the same peripheral location throughout the block, while the reach goal was cued and (2) cued saccade/fixed reach—subjects made reaches to the same location, while the saccade goal was cued. For both conditions, discrimination performance was consistently better at the eye goal than the hand goal. This indicates that shared attentional resources are guided predominantly by the eye during the planning of eye and hand movements.
Notes: *Number of trials removed (percent of total trials).
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