A robotics-based approach to modeling of choice reaching experiments on visual attention

S Strauss, Dietmar Heinke

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12 Citations (Scopus)
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The paper presents a robotics-based model for choice reaching experiments on visual attention. In these experiments participants were asked to make rapid reach movements toward a target in an odd-color search task, i.e., reaching for a green square among red squares and vice versa (e.g., Song and Nakayama, 2008). Interestingly these studies found that in a high number of trials movements were initially directed toward a distractor and only later were adjusted toward the target. These "curved" trajectories occurred particularly frequently when the target in the directly preceding trial had a different color (priming effect). Our model is embedded in a closed-loop control of a LEGO robot arm aiming to mimic these reach movements. The model is based on our earlier work which suggests that target selection in visual search is implemented through parallel interactions between competitive and cooperative processes in the brain (Heinke and Humphreys, 2003; Heinke and Backhaus, 2011). To link this model with the control of the robot arm we implemented a topological representation of movement parameters following the dynamic field theory (Erlhagen and Schoener, 2002). The robot arm is able to mimic the results of the odd-color search task including the priming effect and also generates human-like trajectories with a bell-shaped velocity profile. Theoretical implications and predictions are discussed in the paper.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2012


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