Directional cuing of target choice in human smooth pursuit eye movements.
Perceptual attention and target choice for movement have many features in common. In particular, both generally are based on selection of a particular location in space. To ask whether motor control, like attention, also can exhibit target choice based on nonspatial features of the stimulus, we assessed the initiation of smooth pursuit eye movements when two targets move in different directions after human subjects have been cued which direction or color to track. The direction cue consisted of a patch of dots undergoing either 0% coherent motion or 50% coherent motion in the direction of motion of one of the subsequent targets. After a delay, the fixation spot was extinguished and two spots moved across the same small region of the visual field, one in the cued direction ("target") and one in an orthogonal direction ("distracter"). After the 0% coherent cue, pursuit was approximately the vector average of responses to the two motions presented singly. After the 50% coherent cue, the initial pursuit response was biased strongly toward the target that moved in the cued direction. The impact of the cued direction persisted over delays of up to 1000 ms. Other cues about the direction of upcoming target motion biased the response similarly. Cues about target color also biased pursuit in the direction of motion of the cued target but were considerably less effective than cues indicating the direction of target motion. We conclude that target choice for movement, like perceptual attention, can be based on the features of the chosen target and not only its location in space.
Garbutt, S; Lisberger, SG
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