Eye-hand coupling is not the cause of manual return movements when searching

H. Liesker, E. Brenner, J.B.J. Smeets

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    When searching for a target with eye movements, saccades are planned and initiated while the visual information is still being processed, so that subjects often make saccades away from the target and then have to make an additional return saccade. Presumably, the cost of the additional saccades is outweighed by the advantage of short fixations. We previously showed that when the cost of passing the target was increased, by having subjects manually move a window through which they could see the visual scene, subjects still passed the target and made return movements (with their hand). When moving a window in this manner, the eyes and hand follow the same path. To find out whether the hand still passes the target and then returns when eye and hand movements are uncoupled, we here compared moving a window across a scene with moving a scene behind a stationary window. We ensured that the required movement of the hand was identical in both conditions. Subjects found the target faster when moving the window across the scene than when moving the scene behind the window, but at the expense of making larger return movements. The relationship between the return movements and movement speed when comparing the two conditions was the same as the relationship between these two when comparing different window sizes. We conclude that the hand passing the target and then returning is not directly related to the eyes doing so, but rather that moving on before the information has been fully processed is a general principle of visuomotor control. © 2009 Springer-Verlag.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)221-227
    JournalExperimental Brain Research
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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