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Exploring attention-based explanations for some violations of Hick's law for aimed movements

, : Exploring attention-based explanations for some violations of Hick's law for aimed movements. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics 73(3): 854-871

Choice reaction time generally increases linearly with the logarithm of the number of potential stimulus-response alternatives, a regularity known as Hick's law. Two apparent violations of this generalization, which have been reported for aimed eye movements (Kveraga, Boucher, & Hughes, Experimental Brain Research, 146, 307-314, 2002), and arm movements (Wright, Marino, Belovsky, & Chubb, Experimental Brain Research, 179, 475-496, 2007), occurred when the indicator stimulus was an abrupt change at the location that was the target of the to-be-made movement. We report two experiments that examined and rejected the hypothesis that these abrupt-onset indicator stimuli triggered a shift in exogenous attention and that this led to unusually small uncertainty effects. Each experiment compared this indicator stimulus with a single alternative: Experiment 1 tested an indicator stimulus at all locations other than the target; Experiment 2 tested a central pointer to the target. Neither alternative led to an uncertainty effect for pointing responses that was of the size typically observed for other responses using the same stimuli.


PMID: 21264702

DOI: 10.3758/s13414-010-0062-x

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