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Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 97, Issue 3, pp 471–476 | Cite as

Reaction time latencies of eye and hand movements in single- and dual-task conditions

  • Harold Bekkering
  • Jos J. Adam
  • Herman Kingma
  • A. Huson
  • H. T. A. Whiting
Article

Abstract

The goal of this study was to investigate whether ocular and hand motor systems operate independently or whether they share processes. Using dualtask methodology, reaction time (RT) latencies of saccadic eye and hand motor responses were measured. In experiment 1, the hand and eye motor systems produced rapid, aimed pointing movements to a visual target, which could occur either to the left or right of a central fixation point. Results showed that RT latencies of the eye response were slower in the dual-task condition than in the single-task condition, whereas the RT latencies of the hand response were virtually the same in both conditions. This interference effect indicated that the ocular and manual motor systems are not operating independently when initiating saccadic eye and goal-directed hand movements. Experiment 2 employed the same experimental paradigm as experiment 1, except for one important modification. Instead of a goal-directed hand movement to the target stimulus, subjects had to make a button-press response with either the index or middle finger of the right hand dependent upon whether the stimulus occurred to the right or left of the control fixation point. The aim of experiment 2 was to investigate the issue whether the observed interference effect in experiment 1 was specific or non-specific (e.g. overhead costs due to coordinating any two responses). The finding that saccadic eye movements and button-press responses in the dual-task condition could be initiated without delay relative to the single-task conditions, supports the specific interference interpretation.

Key words

Eye-hand coordination Reaction times Motor control Dual-task methodology Human 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harold Bekkering
    • 1
  • Jos J. Adam
    • 1
  • Herman Kingma
    • 2
  • A. Huson
    • 1
  • H. T. A. Whiting
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Movement SciencesUniversity of LimburgMD MaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Division of Balance DisordersAcademic Hospital of MaastrichtMD MaastrichtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of YorkUK

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