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Behav Res Methods. 2013 Mar;45(1):289-300. doi: 10.3758/s13428-012-0248-3.

Dynamic visuomotor synchronization: quantification of predictive timing.

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  • 1Brain Trauma Foundation, 7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10007, USA. jmaruta@braintrauma.org


When a moving target is tracked visually, spatial and temporal predictions are used to circumvent the neural delay required for the visuomotor processing. In particular, the internally generated predictions must be synchronized with the external stimulus during continuous tracking. We examined the utility of a circular visual-tracking paradigm for assessment of predictive timing, using normal human subjects. Disruptions of gaze-target synchronization were associated with anticipatory saccades that caused the gaze to be temporarily ahead of the target along the circular trajectory. These anticipatory saccades indicated preserved spatial prediction but suggested impaired predictive timing. We quantified gaze-target synchronization with several indices, whose distributions across subjects were such that instances of extremely poor performance were identifiable outside the margin of error determined by test-retest measures. Because predictive timing is an important element of attention functioning, the visual-tracking paradigm and dynamic synchronization indices described here may be useful for attention assessment.

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