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01-09-2013 | Original Article | Uitgave 5/2013

Psychological Research 5/2013

Ideomotor perception modulates visuospatial cueing

Psychological Research > Uitgave 5/2013
Davood G. Gozli, Stephanie C. Goodhew, Joshua B. Moskowitz, Jay Pratt


The ideomotor theory of action posits that the cognitive representation of an action includes the learned perceptual effects of the action. Support for this theory has come from studies demonstrating how perceptual features that match the outcome of a response can facilitate selection of that response. We investigated another, complementary implication of ideomotor theory: would a bias toward selecting a response result in a perceptual bias toward the known effect of the response? In other words, would an action tendency direct attention to the anticipated perceptual features? Through an initial acquisition phase, participants learned that two possible responses (left/right keypress) consistently produced two distinct colors. Next, in a test phase, we manipulated response bias at the beginning of each trial, using an uninformative spatial prime presented at the left or right periphery. We then examined the extent to which color transients that either matched or mismatched the induced response bias can orient participants’ visual attention. Results revealed a perceptual bias toward the color effect of the primed response, manifested in a stronger visual orienting toward this color. Thus, biasing response selection can bias perception. These findings extend the scope of the ideomotor theory to visual perceptual processes.

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