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The predictability of a target’s motion influences gaze, head and hand movements when trying to intercept it

de la Malla, C, Rushton, S ORCID:, Clark, Kait, Smeets, J B J and Brenner, Eli 2019. The predictability of a target’s motion influences gaze, head and hand movements when trying to intercept it. Journal of Neurophysiology 121 (6) , pp. 2416-2427. 10.1152/jn.00917.2017

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Does the predictability of a target's movement and of the interception location influence how the target is intercepted? In a first experiment, we manipulated the predictability of the interception location. A target moved along a haphazardly curved path, and subjects attempted to tap on it when it entered a hitting zone. The hitting zone was either a large ring surrounding the targets starting position (Ring condition) or a small disk that became visible before the target appeared (Disk condition). The interception location gradually became apparent in the Ring condition, whereas it was immediately apparent in the Disk condition. In the Ring condition subjects pursued the target with their gaze. Their head and hand gradually moved in the direction of the future tap position. In the Disk condition subjects immediately directed their gaze towards the hitting zone by moving both their eyes and heads. They also moved their hands to the future tap position sooner than in the Ring condition. In a second and third experiment we made the targets movement more predictable. Although this made the targets easier to pursue, subjects now shifted their gaze to the hitting zone soon after the target appeared in the Ring condition. In the Disk condition they still usually shifted their gaze to the hitting zone at the beginning of the trial. Together, the experiments show that predictability of the interception location is more important than predictability of target movement in determining how we move to intercept targets.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: American Physiological Society
ISSN: 0022-3077
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 May 2019
Date of Acceptance: 25 April 2019
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2022 09:02

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