Attentional selection during preparation of prehension movements

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In two experiments coupling between dorsal attentional selection for action and ventral attentional selection for perception during preparation of prehension movements was examined. In a dual-task paradigm subjects had to grasp an "X"-shaped object with either the left or the right hand's thumb and index finger. Simultaneously a discrimination task was used to measure visual attention prior to the execution of the prehension movements: Mask items transiently changed into distractors or discrimination targets. There was exactly one discrimination target per trial, which appeared at one of the four branch ends of the object. In Experiment 1 target position varied randomly while in Experiment 2 it was constant and known to subjects in each block of trials. In both experiments discrimination performance was significantly better for discrimination target positions at to-be-grasped branch ends than for not-to-be-grasped branch ends. We conclude that during preparation of prehension movements visual attention is largely confined to those parts of an object that will be grasped.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department Psychologie, Allgemeine und Experimentelle Psychologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit√§t, M√ľnchen, Germany

Publication date: May 1, 2003

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