Reach preparation enhances visual performance and appearance


  • Rolfs Martin
  • Lawrence Bonnie M.
  • Carrasco Marisa

document type



We investigated the impact of the preparation of reach movements on visual perception by simultaneously quantifying both an objective measure of visual sensitivity and the subjective experience of apparent contrast. Using a two-by-two alternative forced choice task, observers compared the orientation (clockwise or counterclockwise) and the contrast (higher or lower) of a Standard Gabor and a Test Gabor, the latter of which was presented during reach preparation, at the reach target location or the opposite location. Discrimination performance was better overall at the reach target than at the opposite location. Perceived contrast increased continuously at the target relative to the opposite location during reach preparation, that is, after the onset of the cue indicating the reach target. The finding that performance and appearance do not evolve in parallel during reach preparation points to a distinction with saccade preparation, for which we have shown previously there is a parallel temporal evolution of performance and appearance. Yet akin to saccade preparation, this study reveals that overall reach preparation enhances both visual performance and appearance.

more information