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Donatas Jonikaitis, Torsten Schubert, Heiner Deubel; Preparing coordinated eye and hand movements: Dual-task costs are not attentional. Journal of Vision 2010;10(14):23. doi: 10.1167/10.14.23.
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Dual-task costs are observed when people perform two tasks at the same time. It has been suggested that these costs arise from limitations of movement goal selection when multiple goal-directed movements are made simultaneously. To investigate this, we asked participants to reach and look at different locations while we varied the time between the cues to start the eye and the hand movement between 150 ms and 900 ms. In Experiment 1, participants executed the reach first, and the saccade second, in Experiment 2 the order of the movements was reversed. We observed dual-task costs—participants were slower to start the eye or hand movement if they were planning another movement at that time. In Experiment 3, we investigated whether these dual-task costs were due to limited attentional resources needed to select saccade and reach goal locations. We found that the discrimination of a probe improved at both saccade and reach locations, indicating that attention shifted to both movement goals. Importantly, while we again observed the expected dual-task costs as reflected in movement latencies, there was no apparent delay of the associated attention shifts. Our results rule out attentional goal selection as the causal factor leading to the dual-task costs occurring in eye–hand movements.
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