Perception and motor control act in concert to suit our behaviour to current needs. Most research on the interplay of perception and motor control has examined how sensory input is transformed into movement generation. Recent psychophysical and physiological evidence, however, shows that the generation of movements has considerable impact on perception. Most prominently, these interactions have been documented for vision and eye movements, whereas considerably less is known about the mutual dependencies of perception and other goal-directed movements, such as reaching. In the proposed project, we aim to find out whether and how perception and action interact by accessing the same visual representation, a saliency map, in which bottom-up stimulus characteristics are weighted by attentional mechanisms. As appearance represents the readout of integrated perceptual saliency (Carrasco et al., 2004, Nat Neurosci, 7, 308-313; Treue, 2004, Trends Cogn Sci, 8, 435-437), we will study its interactions with goal-directed eye and hand movements. In a three-fold project, we will investigate influences of (1) attention on appearance, (2) action on appearance, and (3) appearance on action. Our research will shed light on whether and how perception and motor control share visual information to coordinate behaviour in space and time and. Using functional magnetic imaging, it will reveal physiological correlates of changes in appearance. The proposed project will be based on a close, productive collaboration between the applicant Dr. Martin Rolfs, Prof. Marisa Carrasco (Psychology Department and Center of Neural Science at New York University, USA), and Dr. Eric Castet (Institut de Neurosciences Cognitives de la Méditerranée, CNRS, France). Comprehensive training at NYU will deepen and broaden the applicant’s theoretical knowledge, methodological competency, and scientific skills. It will contribute to a strong European position in the burgeoning field of Mind and Brain sciences.
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