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08-08-2015 | Original Article | Uitgave 5/2016

Psychological Research 5/2016

The processing of visual and auditory information for reaching movements

Tijdschrift:
Psychological Research > Uitgave 5/2016
Auteurs:
Cheryl M. Glazebrook, Timothy N. Welsh, Luc Tremblay

Abstract

Presenting target and non-target information in different modalities influences target localization if the non-target is within the spatiotemporal limits of perceptual integration. When using auditory and visual stimuli, the influence of a visual non-target on auditory target localization is greater than the reverse. It is not known, however, whether or how such perceptual effects extend to goal-directed behaviours. To gain insight into how audio-visual stimuli are integrated for motor tasks, the kinematics of reaching movements towards visual or auditory targets with or without a non-target in the other modality were examined. When present, the simultaneously presented non-target could be spatially coincident, to the left, or to the right of the target. Results revealed that auditory non-targets did not influence reaching trajectories towards a visual target, whereas visual non-targets influenced trajectories towards an auditory target. Interestingly, the biases induced by visual non-targets were present early in the trajectory and persisted until movement end. Subsequent experimentation indicated that the magnitude of the biases was equivalent whether participants performed a perceptual or motor task, whereas variability was greater for the motor versus the perceptual tasks. We propose that visually induced trajectory biases were driven by the perceived mislocation of the auditory target, which in turn affected both the movement plan and subsequent control of the movement. Such findings provide further evidence of the dominant role visual information processing plays in encoding spatial locations as well as planning and executing reaching action, even when reaching towards auditory targets.

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