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Emily M. Crowe, Martin Bossard, Eli Brenner; Can ongoing movements be guided by allocentric visual information when the target is visible?. Journal of Vision 2021;21(1):6. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.1.6.
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People use both egocentric (object-to-self) and allocentric (object-to-object) spatial information to interact with the world. Evidence for allocentric information guiding ongoing actions stems from studies in which people reached to where targets had previously been seen while other objects were moved. Since egocentric position judgments might fade or change when the target is removed, we sought for conditions in which people might benefit from relying on allocentric information when the target remains visible. We used a task that required participants to intercept targets that moved across a screen using a cursor that represented their finger but that moved by a different amount in a different plane. During each attempt, we perturbed the target, cursor, or background individually or all three simultaneously such that their relative positions did not change and there was no need to adjust the ongoing movement. An obvious way to avoid responding to such simultaneous perturbations is by relying on allocentric information. Relying on egocentric information would give a response that resembles the combined responses to the three isolated perturbations. The hand responded in accordance with the responses to the isolated perturbations despite the differences between how the finger and cursor moved. This response remained when the simultaneous perturbation was repeated many times, suggesting that participants hardly relied upon allocentric spatial information to control their ongoing visually guided actions.
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