Indexed on: 24 Apr '86Published on: 24 Apr '86Published in: Nature
When we reach towards an object that suddenly appears in our peripheral visual field, not only does our arm extend towards the object, but our eyes, head and body also move in such a way that the image of the object falls on the fovea. Popular models of how reaching movements are programmed have argued that while the first part of the limb movement is ballistic, subsequent corrections to the trajectory are made on the basis of dynamic feedback about the relative positions of the hand and the target provided by central vision. These models have assumed that the adjustments are dependent on seeing the hand moving with respect to the target. Here we present evidence that a change in the position of a visual target during a reaching movement can modify the trajectory even when vision of the hand is prevented. Moreover, these dynamic corrections to the trajectory of the moving limb occur without the subject perceiving the change in target location. These findings demonstrate that visual feedback about the relative position of the hand and target is not necessary for visually driven corrections in reaching to occur, and the mechanisms that maintain the apparent stability of a target in space are dissociable from those that mediate the visuomotor output directed at that target.