Action goal selection and motor planning can be dissociated by tool use

  • Collins T
  • Schicke T
  • Röder B
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The preparation of eye or hand movements enhances visual perception at the upcoming movement end position. The spatial location of this influence of action on perception could be determined either by goal selection or by motor planning. We employed a tool use task to dissociate these two alternatives. The instructed goal location was a visual target to which participants pointed with the tip of a triangular hand-held tool. The motor endpoint was defined by the final fingertip position necessary to bring the tool tip onto the goal. We tested perceptual performance at both locations (tool tip endpoint, motor endpoint) with a visual discrimination task. Discrimination performance was enhanced in parallel at both spatial locations, but not at nearby and intermediate locations, suggesting that both action goal selection and motor planning contribute to visual perception. In addition, our results challenge the widely held view that tools extend the body schema and suggest instead that tool use enhances perception at those precise locations which are most relevant during tool action: the body part used to manipulate the tool, and the active tool tip. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Action
  • Attention
  • Pointing
  • Tool use
  • Visual perception

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  • Thérèse Collins

  • Tobias Schicke

  • Brigitte Röder

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