Attentional localization prior to simple and directed manual responses

Hodgson, Timothy L., Muller, Hermann J. and O'Leary, Michael J. (1999) Attentional localization prior to simple and directed manual responses. Perception and Psychophysics, 61 (2). pp. 308-321. ISSN 0031-5117

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The relationship between attention and the programming of motor responses was investigated, using a paradigm in which the onsets of targets for movements were preceded by peripheral attentional cues. Simple (button release) and reaching manual responses were compared under conditions in which the subjects either made saccades toward the target location or refrained from making eye movements. The timing of the movement onset was used as the dependent measure for both simple and reaching manual responses. Eye movement latencies were also measured. A follow-up experiment measured the effect of the same peripheral cuing procedure on purely visual processes, using signal detection measures of visual sensitivity and response bias. The results of the first experiment showed that reaction time (RT) increased with the distance between the cued and the target locations. Stronger distance effects were observed when goal-directed responses were required, which suggests enhanced attentional localization of target positions under these conditions. The requirement to generate an eye movement response was found to delay simple manual RTs. However, mean reaching RTs were unaffected by the eye movement condition. Distance gradients on eye movement latencies were relatively shallow, as compared with those on goal-directed manual responses. The second experiment showed that the peripheral cue had only a very small effect on visual detection sensitivity in the absence of directed motor responses. It is concluded that cue-target distance effects with peripheral cues are modulated by the motor-programming requirements of the task. The effect of the peripheral cue on eye movement latencies was qualitatively different from that observed on manual RTs, indicating the existence of separate neural representations underlying both response types. At the same time, the interactions between response modalities are consistent with a supramodal representation of attentional space, within which different motor programs may interact.

Keywords:adult, article, association, attention, female, human, male, orientation, perceptive discrimination, psychomotor performance, psychophysics, reaction time, saccadic eye movement, Adult, Cues, Humans, Saccades, Signal Detection (Psychology)
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
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ID Code:10555
Deposited On:19 Dec 2013 13:06

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