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This study investigated the effect of hand movements on behavioral and electro-physiological parameters of saccade preparation. While event-related potentials were recorded in 17 subjects, they performed saccades to a visual target either together with a hand movement in the same direction, a hand movement in the opposite direction, a hand movement to a third, independent direction, or without any accompanying hand movements. Saccade latencies increased with any kind of accompanying hand movement. Both saccade and manual latencies were largest when both movements aimed at opposite directions. In contrast, saccade-related potentials indicating preparatory activity were mainly affected by hand movements in the same direction. The data suggest that concomitant hand movements interfere with saccade preparation, particularly when the two movements involve motor preparations that access the same visual stimulus. This indicates that saccade preparation is continually informed about hand movement preparation.
Sailer is with the Dept. of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden. Güldenpfennig is with the Institute for Design & Assessment of Technology, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria. Eggert is with the Dept. of Neurology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.