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J Mot Behav. 2013;45(1):79-83. doi: 10.1080/00222895.2012.746282. Epub 2013 Feb 13.

Distraction of eye-hand coordination varies with working memory capacity.

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Centre for Musculoskeletal Research, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, University of Gävle, Sweden.


The authors present a study of the relationship between individual variation in working memory capacity (WMC) and visually guided hand control in the face of visual distraction. WMC was assessed with the automated operation span task. Hand control was measured by requesting participants to track a visual target with a hand-held touch screen pen. Tracking error increased when nontarget visual objects (distractors) appeared, especially in individuals with low WMC. High-WMC individuals are less impaired by distractors than their low-WMC counterpart, because they resume target tracking more quickly after distractor onset. The results suggest that visual distractors cause a momentary interruption to tracking movements and that high WMC attenuates this interruption by facilitating visual search.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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