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Aleksandra Pieczykolan, Lynn Huestegge; Oculomotor dominance in multitasking: Mechanisms of conflict resolution in cross-modal action. Journal of Vision 2014;14(13):18. https://doi.org/10.1167/14.13.18.
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In daily life, eye movement control usually occurs in the context of concurrent action demands in other effector domains. However, little research has focused on understanding how such cross-modal action demands are coordinated, especially when conflicting information needs to be processed conjunctly in different action modalities. In two experiments, we address this issue by studying vocal responses in the context of spatially conflicting eye movements (Experiment 1) and in the context of spatially conflicting manual actions (Experiment 2, under controlled eye fixation conditions). Crucially, a comparison across experiments allows us to assess resource scheduling priorities among the three effector systems by comparing the same (vocal) response demands in the context of eye movements in contrast to manual responses. The results indicate that in situations involving response conflict, eye movements are prioritized over concurrent action demands in another effector system. This oculomotor dominance effect corroborates previous observations in the context of multiple action demands without spatial response conflict. Furthermore, and in line with recent theoretical accounts of parallel multiple action control, resource scheduling patterns appear to be flexibly adjustable based on the temporal proximity of the two actions that need to be performed.
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