Hand-eye coordination during sequential tasks

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1992 Sep 29;337(1281):331-8; discussion 338-9. doi: 10.1098/rstb.1992.0111.


The small angle subtended by the human fovea places a premium on the ability to quickly and accurately direct the gaze to targets of interest. Thus the resultant saccadic eye fixations are a very instructive behaviour, revealing much about the underlying cognitive mechanisms that guide them. Of particular interest are the eye fixations used in hand-eye coordination. Such coordination has been extensively studied for single movements from a source location to a target location. In contrast, we have studied multiple fixations where the sources and targets are a function of a task and chosen dynamically by the subject according to task requirements. The task chosen is a copying task: subjects must copy a figure made up of contiguous coloured blocks as fast as possible. The main observation is that although eye fixations are used for the terminal phase of hand movements, they are used for other tasks before and after that phase. The analysis of the spatial and temporal details of these fixations suggests that the underlying decision process that moves the eyes leaves key decisions until just before they are required.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Robotics
  • Saccades / physiology
  • Task Performance and Analysis