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Anton Malienko, Vanessa Harrar, Aarlenne Z. Khan; Contrasting effects of exogenous cueing on saccades and reaches. Journal of Vision 2018;18(9):4. doi: 10.1167/18.9.4.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous studies have shown that eye and arm movements tend to be intrinsically coupled in their behavior. There is, however, no consensus on whether planning of eye and arm movements is based on shared or independent representations. One way to gain insight into these processes is to compare how exogenous attentional modulation influences the temporal and spatial characteristics of the eye and the arm during single or combined movements. Thirteen participants (M = 22.8 years old, SD = 1.5) performed single or combined movements to an eccentric target. A behaviorally irrelevant cue flashed just before the target at different locations. There was no effect of the cue on the saccade or reach amplitudes, whether they were performed alone or together. We found no differences in overall reaction times (RTs) between single and combined movements. With respect to the effect of the cue, both saccades and reaches followed a similar pattern with the shortest RTs when the cue was closest to the target, which we propose reflects effector-independent processes. Compared to when no cue was presented before the target, saccade RTs were generally inhibited by the irrelevant cue with increasing cue-target distance. In contrast, reach RTs showed strong facilitation at the target location and less facilitation at farther distances. We propose that this reflects the presence of effector-dependent processes. The similarities and differences in RTs between the saccades and reaches are consistent with effector-dependent and -independent processes working in parallel.
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