Visuomotor transformation for interception: catching while fixating

J.C. Dessing, L. Oostwoud Wijdenes, C.E. Peper, P.J. Beek

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    Abstract

    Catching a ball involves a dynamic transformation of visual information about ball motion into motor commands for moving the hand to the right place at the right time. We previously formulated a neural model for this transformation to account for the consistent leftward movement biases observed in our catching experiments. According to the model, these biases arise within the representation of target motion as well as within the transformation from a gaze-centered to a body-centered movement command. Here, we examine the validity of the latter aspect of our model in a catching task involving gaze fixation. Gaze fixation should systematically influence biases in catching movements, because in the model movement commands are only generated in the direction perpendicular to the gaze direction. Twelve participants caught balls while gazing at a fixation point positioned either straight ahead or 14° to the right. Four participants were excluded because they could not adequately maintain fixation. We again observed a consistent leftward movement bias, but the catching movements were unaffected by fixation direction. This result refutes our proposal that the leftward bias partly arises within the visuomotor transformation, and suggests instead that the bias predominantly arises within the early representation of target motion, specifically through an imbalance in the represented radial and azimuthal target motion. © 2009 Springer-Verlag.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)511-527
    JournalExperimental Brain Research
    Volume196
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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