August 2016
Volume 16, Issue 12
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2016
Simple actions influence eye movements
Author Affiliations
  • Jihyun Suh
    Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St.Louis
  • Blaire Weidler
    Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St.Louis
  • Richard Abrams
    Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St.Louis
Journal of Vision September 2016, Vol.16, 339. doi:
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      Jihyun Suh, Blaire Weidler, Richard Abrams; Simple actions influence eye movements . Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):339.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Recent research has revealed that action can have an influence on visual perception. For example, participants find targets more quickly in a visual search task when the target is associated with a feature they previously acted towards. However, all evidence for this phenomenon comes from manual response time data. Thus, it is theoretically possible that action's effect is not on perception but instead on post-perceptual response processes. Here for the first time we investigated if a prior action can affect oculomotor behavior. In two experiments participants saw a word pre-cue followed by a colored shape. Participants either made an action (pressed the space bar) or simply viewed the shape depending on the match between the pre-cue and the shape's color (Experiment 1) or on the identity of the pre-cue (Experiment 2). Next, two circles with embedded lines appeared; participants' task was to find and indicate the tilt of the sole tilted line. Although color was irrelevant to the search task, one of the circles was the color of the earlier seen shape; on half of the trials it contained the target and on half the distractor. Both experiments replicated the typical "action effect" pattern: Participants were faster to find the target if it was in the color they saw earlier in the trial, but only following an action (i.e., although irrelevant to the task, the acted-on color received priority in visual search). Importantly, oculomotor behavior was also affected by prior action in both experiments—after an action (but not after viewing) participants' first saccade was directed to the target more often when it was in the color of the acted-on object than when that color contained a distractor. Overall the results show for the first time that a prior arbitrary action affects eye movements.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016


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