How motor plans shape what we perceive
In my presentation, I will suggest that what we perceive at each moment in time is largely determined by our current motor plans. Previous studies demonstrated that visual-spatial attention and saccade preparation are closely coupled, i.e., no saccades can be made without a previous shift of attention to the saccade target. Recent results from our lab show that also hand movements bind visual attention to their target locations during movement preparation. Interestingly, in coordinated eye-hand movements attention builds up in parallel both at the eye and the hand target, and the allocation of attention to one effector’s motor target is not affected by the concurrent preparation of the other effector’s movement. Finally, observers can voluntarily attend to a cued spatial location, but only as long as they do not plan a movement to another location. Together, these findings indicate that eye and hand targets are represented in separate, effector-specific priority maps of action-relevant locations that both strongly interfere with endogenous attentional selection. Within this competition, action-related attention always overrules voluntary attempts to attend.