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Object-based processes in the planning of goal-directed hand movements

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Theories in motor control suggest that the parameters specified during the planning of goal-directed hand movements to a visual target are defined in spatial parameters like direction and amplitude. Recent findings in the visual attention literature, however, argue widely for early object-based selection processes. The present experiments were designed to examine the contributions of object-based and space-based selection processes to the preparation time of goal-directed pointing movements. Therefore, a cue was presented at a specific location. The question addressed was whether the initiation of responses to uncued target stimuli could benefit from being either within the same object (object based) or presented at the same direction (space based). Experiment 1 replicated earlier findings of object-based benefits for non-goal-directed responses. Experiment 2 confirmed earlier findings of space-based benefits for goal-directed hand pointing movements. In Experiments 3 and 4, space-based and object-based manipulations were combined while requiring goal-directed hand pointing movements. The results clearly favour the notion that the selection processes for goal-directed pointing movements are primarily object based. Implications for theories on selective attention and action planning are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Toronto Canada

Publication date: November 1, 2004


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