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The effects of dividing attention on smooth pursuit eye tracking

Springer Verlag
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Microsoft Word - Hutton&Tegally_Revised3.doc 1 The effects of dividing attention on smooth pursuit eye tracking �S.B. Hutton & D. Tegally Department of Psychology, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QG, UK. Running Head: Smooth Pursuit and Attention 2 Abstract: Attentional processes have traditionally been closely linked to the production of saccadic eye movements, but their role in the control of smooth pursuit eye movements remains unclear. In two experiments we used dual task paradigms to vary the attentional resources available for pursuit eye tracking. In both experiments we found that attentionally demanding secondary tasks impaired smooth pursuit performance, resulting in decreased velocity and increased position error. These findings suggest that attention is important for the maintenance of accurate smooth pursuit, and do not support the hypothesis that pursuit is a relatively automatic function that procedes optimally in the absence of attentional control. These results add weight to the suggestion that a similar functional architecture underlies both pursuit and saccadic eye movements. Descriptor Items: Smooth Pursuit, Eye tracking, Attention, Dual task, Divided attention. 3 The effects of dividing attention on smooth pursuit eye tracking Human and non-human primates use both saccadic and smooth pursuit eye movements to ensure that the image of an object of interest falls and remains on or near the fovea. These two types of eye movements, and the neural systems involved in their control, have generally been considered separately by researchers. According to traditional views, smooth pursuit is controlled by a relatively simple cortico-pontine-cerebellar pathway, linking visual sensory areas involved in the processing of motion signals to motor regions the cerebellum, via the pontine nuclei (

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