Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 113, Issue 1, pp 144–152 | Cite as

Hand deviations away from visual cues: Indirect evidence for inhibition

  • Louise A. Howard
  • S. P. Tipper
Research Article


Previous research has demonstrated that when a stimulus is to be ignored, the path of motion towards a target (saccade or manual reach) deviates away from the to-be-ignored stimulus. Path deviations in saccade and reaching tasks have, however, been observed in very different situations. In the saccade tasks subjects initially attended to a cue, then disengaged attention while saccading to a target. By contrast, in the selective reaching tasks attention was continuously withdrawn from the to-be-ignored stimulus, as this was irrelevant throughout the experiment. In the two experiments reported here, cues similar to those studied in saccade tasks are examined with selective reaching procedures. Experiment 1 shows that when a coloured light-emitting diode cue, upon which subjects engage and then subsequently disengage attention, is close to the responding hand, the hand deviates away from the cue. Experiment 2 confirms this cue avoidance by showing that, compared with central fixation alone, the hand veers away from a central cue. These results confirm that the path deviations observed in saccades can also be obtained in manual reaching movements. Such findings support the notion that eye and hand movements are both affected by inhibitory mechanisms of attention.

Key words

Inhibition Reaching-to-grasp Interference Attention Path-deviation Human 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Perception, Attention and Motor Sciences, School of PsychologyUniversity of Wales, BangorGwyneddWales

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