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16-02-2019 | Original Article | Uitgave 5/2020

Psychological Research 5/2020

Grasping and perception are both affected by irrelevant information and secondary tasks: new evidence from the Garner paradigm

Psychological Research > Uitgave 5/2020
Miriam Löhr-Limpens, Frederic Göhringer, Thomas Schenk, Constanze Hesse
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In their Perception–Action Model (PAM), Goodale and Milner (1992) proposed functionally independent and encapsulated processing of visual information for action and perception. In this context, they postulated that visual input for action is processed in an automatized and analytic manner, which renders visuomotor behaviour immune to perceptual interferences or multitasking costs due to sharing of cognitive resources. Here, we investigate the well-known Garner Interference effect under dual- and single-task conditions in its classic perceptual form as well as in grasping. Garner Interference arises when stimuli are classified along a relevant dimension (e.g., their length), while another irrelevant dimension (e.g., their width) has to be ignored. In the present study, participants were presented with differently sized rectangular objects and either grasped them or classified them as long or short via button presses. We found classical Garner Interference effects in perception as expressed in prolonged reaction times when variations occurred also in the irrelevant object dimension. While reaction times during grasping were not susceptible to Garner Interference, effects were observed in a number of measures that reflect grasping accuracy (i.e., poorer adjustment of grip aperture to object size, prolonged adjustment times, and increased variability of the maximum hand opening when irrelevant object dimensions were varied). In addition, multitasking costs occurred in both perception and action tasks. Thus, our findings challenge the assumption of automaticity in visuomotor behaviour as proposed by the PAM.

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