Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 171, Issue 2, pp 174–183 | Cite as

No automatic pilot for visually guided aiming based on colour

  • Erin K. Cressman
  • Ian M. Franks
  • James T. Enns
  • Romeo ChuaEmail author
Research Article


It has been claimed that visually guided limb movements are automatically corrected in response to a change in target location but not when the same change in target is cued through a colour switch (Pisella et al. 2000). These findings were based solely on limb endpoint data. Here we examine the kinematic trajectory of the hand during the entire movement. Participants pointed rapidly to a target object that could change position either by changing spatial location, or by switching colour with a second object. Participants performed in two instructional conditions: a “go” condition to index intentional movements and a “stop” condition in which failures to stop pointing indexed automatic limb guidance. Kinematic analysis indicated efficient intentional pointing in both location and colour change conditions. However, only targets that changed spatial location elicited involuntary limb modifications and these occurred within 150 ms of the change. This conclusion held even after baseline differences in the efficiency of processing colour-defined targets were taken into account, thereby strengthening the claim of a strongly automatic pilot for visually guided limb movements.


Vision Action Dorsal-ventral systems Automatic guidance 



We thank Rudy Chow for invaluable assistance with the data analysis. This research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erin K. Cressman
    • 1
  • Ian M. Franks
    • 1
  • James T. Enns
    • 2
  • Romeo Chua
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Human KineticsUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of Psychology University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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