Two hands are better than one: Perceptual benefits by bimanual movements

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Before looking at or reaching for an object, the focus of attention is first allocated to the movement object. Here we investigated whether the strength of these pre-motor shifts of attention cumulates if an object is targeted by multiple effectors (eyes and hands). A total of 29 participants were tested on a visuomotor task. They were cued to move gaze, the left hand, right hand, or both (one to three effectors) to a common object or to different peripheral objects. Before the movements, eight possible objects briefly changed form, of which one was a distinct probe. Results showed that the average recognition of the probe's identity change increased as more effectors targeted this object. For example, performance was higher when two hands as compared to one hand were moved to the probe. This effect remained evident despite the detrimental effect on performance of the increase in motor task complexity of moving two hands as compared to one hand. The accumulation of recognition improvements as a function of the number of effectors that successfully target the probe points at parallel and presumably independent mechanisms for hand- and eye-coordination that evoke pre-motor shifts of attention.
Original languageEnglish
Article number16
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


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