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Jessica L. O'Rielly, Anna Ma-Wyatt; Saccade dynamics during an online updating task change with healthy aging. Journal of Vision 2020;20(13):2. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.13.2.
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Goal-directed movements rely on the integration of both visual and motor information, especially during the online control of movement, to fluidly and flexibly control coordinated action. Eye–hand coordination typically plays an important role in goal-directed movements. As people age, various aspects of motor control and visual performance decline (Haegerstrom-Portnoy, Schneck, & Brabyn, 1999; Seidler et al., 2010), including an increase in saccade latencies (Munoz, Broughton, Goldring, & Armstrong, 1998). However, there is limited insight into how age-related changes in saccadic performance impact eye–hand coordination during online control. We investigated this question through the use of a target perturbation paradigm. Older and younger participants completed a perturbation task where target perturbations could occur either early (0 ms) or later (200 ms) after reach onset. We analyzed reach correction latencies and the frequency of the reach correction, coupled with analyses of saccades across all stages of movement. Older participants had slower correction latencies and initiated corrections less frequently compared to younger participants, with this trend being exacerbated in the later (200 ms) target perturbation condition. Older participants also produced slower saccade latencies toward both the initial target and the perturbed target. For trials in which a correction occurred to a late perturbation, touch responses were more accurate when there was more time between the saccade landing and the touch. Altogether, our results suggest that these age-related effects may be due to the delayed acquisition of visual and oculomotor information used to inform the reaching movement, stemming from the increase in saccade latencies before and after target perturbation.
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