Movement Trajectories in the Presence of a Distracting Stimulus: Evidence for a Response Activation Model of Selective Reaching
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Consistent with action-based theories of attention, the presence of a nontarget stimulus in the environment has been shown to alter the characteristics of goal-directed movements. Specifically, it has been reported that movement trajectories veer away from (Howard & Tipper, 1997) or towards (Welsh, Elliott, & Weeks, 1999) the location of a nontarget stimulus. The purpose of the experiments reported in this paper was to test a response activation model of selective reaching conceived to account for these variable results. In agreement with the model, the trajectory changes in the movements appear to be determined by the activation levels of each competing response at the moment of response initiation. The results of the present work, as well as those of previous studies, are discussed within the framework of the model of response activation.
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