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J Vis. 2018 Apr 1;18(4):18. doi: 10.1167/18.4.18.

Eye movement training is most effective when it involves a task-relevant sensorimotor decision.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
Graduate Program in Neuroscience, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
Center for Brain Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Eye and hand movements are closely linked when performing everyday actions. We conducted a perceptual-motor training study to investigate mutually beneficial effects of eye and hand movements, asking whether training in one modality benefits performance in the other. Observers had to predict the future trajectory of a briefly presented moving object, and intercept it at its assumed location as accurately as possible with their finger. Eye and hand movements were recorded simultaneously. Different training protocols either included eye movements or a combination of eye and hand movements with or without external performance feedback. Eye movement training did not transfer across modalities: Irrespective of feedback, finger interception accuracy and precision improved after training that involved the hand, but not after isolated eye movement training. Conversely, eye movements benefited from hand movement training or when external performance feedback was given, thus improving only when an active interceptive task component was involved. These findings indicate only limited transfer across modalities. However, they reveal the importance of creating a training task with an active sensorimotor decision to improve the accuracy and precision of eye and hand movements.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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