Object Recognition and Goal-Directed Eye or Hand Movements are Coupled by Visual Attention

  • Ingo Paprotta
  • Heiner Deubel
  • Werner X. Schneider


A dual-task paradigm required the preparation of a goal-directed movement (hand or eye) concurrently with a letter discrimination task. In the first experiment a hand movement to a location on a virtual circle was required and indicated by a central cue. Simultaneously, the ability to discriminate between the symbols “E” and “3”, presented tachioscopically with various delays on a circular position within surrounding distractors, was taken as a measure of selective perceptual performance. The location of discrimination target remained constant within blocks and was known to the subjects. In the second experiment a saccadic eye movement was required instead of a pointing movement. The data in both experiments clearly demonstrate that discrimination performance is superior when the discrimination target location (DT) is identical to the location of the movement target (MT). When DT and MT refer to different objects, performance deteriorates drastically. We conclude that it is not possible to maintain attention on a stimulus for the purpose of discrimination while preparing a movement to a spatially separate object. This holds, in a quantitatively similar way, for both saccades and manual pointing.


Visual Attention Movement Target Discrimination Performance Movement Onset Movement Execution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Castiello U (1996) Grasping a Fruit: Selection for Action. J Exp Psychol: Hum Percept Perform 22: 582–603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Deubel H, Schneider WX (1996) Saccade target selection and object recognition: Evidence for a common attentional mechanism. Vision Res 36, 1827–1837PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Deubel H., Schneider WX, Paprotta I (in press) Selective dorsal and ventral processing: Evidence for a common attentional mechanism in reaching and perception. Visual CognitionGoogle Scholar
  4. Goodale MA, Millner AD (1992) Separate visual pathways for perception and action. TINS 15: 20–25PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Hoffman JE, Subramaniam B (1995) The role of visual attention in saccadic eye movements. Percept Psychophys 57:787–795PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Jeannerod M (1981) Intersegmental coordination during reaching at natural visual objects. In J. Long and A. Baddeley (Eds.) Attention and Performance IX. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, pp 153–169Google Scholar
  7. Klein R (1980) Does oculomotor readiness mediate cognitive control of visual attention ? In R. Nickerson (Ed.), Attention and Performance VIII. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, pp 259–276Google Scholar
  8. Kowler E, Anderson E, Dosher B, Blaser E (1995) The role of attention in the programming of saccades. Vision Res 35:1897–1916PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Posner MI (1980) Orienting of attention. Q J Exp Psychol 32: 3–25PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Rizzolatti G, Riggio L, Dascola I, Umilta C (1987) Reorienting attention across the horizontal and vertical meridians: Evidence in favor of a premotor theory of attention. Neuropsychologia 25: 31–40PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Rizzolatti G, Riggio L, Sheliga BM (1994) Space and selective attention. In C. Umilta and M. Moscovitch (Eds.), Attention and Performance XV Conscious and nonconscious information processing). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp 231–265Google Scholar
  12. Schneider WX (1995) A neuro-cognitive model for visual attention control of segmentation, object recognition, and space-based motor action. Visual Cognition 2: 331–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Schneider WX, Deubel H (1995) Visual attention and saccadic eye movements: Evidence for obligatory and selective spatial coupling. In Findlay JM, Walker R, Kentridge RW (Eds.) Eye movement research. Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp 317–324Google Scholar
  14. Shepherd M, Findlay JM, Hockey RJ (1986) The relationship between eye movements and spatial attention. Q J Exp Psychol 38A, 475–491Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ingo Paprotta
    • 1
  • Heiner Deubel
    • 1
  • Werner X. Schneider
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Experimental PsychologyLudwig Maximilians UniversityMunichGermany

Personalised recommendations