It is well established that during the preparation and execution of goal-directed movements, perceptual processing is biased towards the goal. Most of the previous work on the relation between action and attention has focused on rather simple movements, such as single saccades or manual reaches towards a single target. Here we review recent behavioural and neurophysiological studies on manual actions that require to consider more than a single spatial location in the planning of the response, such as movement sequences, grasping, and movements around obstacles. The studies provide compelling evidence that the preparation of these actions establishes multiple foci of attention which reflect the spatial-temporal requirements of the future action. The findings help clarify how perceptual processing is bound by action preparation and also offer new perspectives for motor control research.
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