Are Motor Adjustments Quick Because They Don’t Require Detection or Because They Escape Competition?

in Motor Control
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  • 1 Pennsylvania State University
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Smeets et al. (2016) suggested that motor adjustments may be quick because they don’t require stimulus detection. We agree that these rapid adjustments probably reflect rapid perceptual processing rather than rapid motor execution, but we question whether the absence of detection is the best way to explain the effect. We suggest that it is unclear what mechanisms would be involved in detection and why detection would be required in some of the cases discussed by Smeets et al. Instead, we suggest that ultra-fast motor adjustments require very little competition among possible stimuli or responses. We suggest that escaping competition rather than avoiding detection may be the cause of the very short reaction times that Smeets et al. identified.

The authors are with the Dept. of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.

Address author correspondence to David A. Rosenbaum at dar12@psu.edu.
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