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Laurel A. Issen, David C. Knill; Decoupling eye and hand movement control: Visual short-term memory influences reach planning more than saccade planning. Journal of Vision 2012;12(1):3. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/12.1.3.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
When reaching for objects, humans make saccades to fixate the object at or near the time the hand begins to move. In order to address whether the CNS relies on a common representation of target positions to plan both saccades and hand movements, we quantified the contributions of visual short-term memory (VSTM) to hand and eye movements executed during the same coordinated actions. Subjects performed a sequential movement task in which they picked up one of two objects on the right side of a virtual display (the “weapon”), moved it to the left side of the display (to a “reloading station”) and then moved it back to the right side to hit the other object (the target). On some trials, the target was perturbed by 1° of visual angle while subjects moved the weapon to the reloading station. Although subjects did not notice the change, the original position of the target, encoded in VSTM, influenced the motor plans for both the hand and the eye back to the target. Memory influenced motor plans for distant targets more than for near targets, indicating that sensorimotor planning is sensitive to the reliability of available information; however, memory had a larger influence on hand movements than on eye movements. This suggests that spatial planning for coordinated saccades and hand movements are dissociated at the level of processing at which online visual information is integrated with information in short-term memory.
Values after ± indicate standard errors on weight estimates.
Asterisks indicate significant terms and show that our pattern of results is independent for several methods of isolating the hand movement planning.
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