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Study indicates how we make proper movements
Date:12/18/2008

pairs had both of the handles in the same orientation, in other pairs the two handles would be rotated at varying angles. In addition, the researchers noted which hand was used to make the response if it was compatible or incompatible with the direction the handle was facing (e.g. the right hand was compatible for handles that were facing right).

The results, published in the December issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, show that the participants were faster to respond with the compatible than with the incompatible hand if both the handles shared an identical orientation; if the two handles were at slightly different angles, the response time with the compatible hand was much slower. When the two handles were angled 60 away from each other, response times were similar for both the compatible and incompatible hands. These results suggest that when we see an object, a number of motor programs in the brain are involuntarily activated (each with a different potential movement we can make), which all compete with one another. One program emerges as the winner of the competition and is ready to be implemented while the other programs (which would result in erroneous movements) are inhibited.

These results indicate that there is a common mechanism which acts in both perception and movement. These findings also tell us how information travels throughout the brain and how the motor system and visual system interact. The authors note that these results do not only give us information about normal brain functioning, but suggest that deficits with the center surround inhibition mechanism may contribute to poor motor planning and coordination which often accompany autism and schizophrenia.


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Contact: Barbara Isanski
bisanski@psychologicalscience.org
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

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