The increased reliance on electronic devices such as smartphones in our everyday life exposes us to various delays between our actions and their consequences. Whereas it is known that people can adapt to such delays, the mechanisms underlying such adaptation remain unclear. To better understand these mechanisms, the current study explored the role of eye movements in interception with delayed visual feedback. In two experiments, eye movements were recorded as participants tried to intercept a moving target with their unseen finger while receiving delayed visual feedback about their own movement. In Experiment 1, the target randomly moved in one of two different directions at one of two different velocities. The delay between the participant’s finger movement and movement of the cursor that provided feedback about the finger movements was gradually increased. Despite the delay, participants followed the target with their gaze. They were quite successful at hitting the target with the cursor. Thus, they moved their finger to a position that was ahead of where they were looking. Removing the feedback showed that participants had adapted to the delay. In Experiment 2, the target always moved in the same direction and at the same velocity, while the cursor’s delay varied across trials. Participants still always directed their gaze at the target. They adjusted their movement to the delay on each trial, often succeeding to intercept the target with the cursor. Since their gaze was always directed at the target, and they could not know the delay until the cursor started moving, participants must have been using peripheral vision of the delayed cursor to guide it to the target. Thus, people deal with delays by directing their gaze at the target and using both experience from previous trials (Experiment 1) and peripheral visual information (Experiment 2) to guide their finger in a way that will make the cursor hit the target.
- Motor control
- Visuomotor adaptation