No automatic pilot for visually guided aiming based on colour

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It has been claimed that visually guided limb movements are automatically corrected in response to a change in target location but not when the same change in target is cued through a colour switch (Pisella et al. 2000). These findings were based solely on limb endpoint data. Here we examine the kinematic trajectory of the hand during the entire movement. Participants pointed rapidly to a target object that could change position either by changing spatial location, or by switching colour with a second object. Participants performed in two instructional conditions: a “go” condition to index intentional movements and a “stop” condition in which failures to stop pointing indexed automatic limb guidance. Kinematic analysis indicated efficient intentional pointing in both location and colour change conditions. However, only targets that changed spatial location elicited involuntary limb modifications and these occurred within 150 ms of the change. This conclusion held even after baseline differences in the efficiency of processing colour-defined targets were taken into account, thereby strengthening the claim of a strongly automatic pilot for visually guided limb movements.

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