In contrast to conventional reaction time (RT) tasks, saccadic RT's to visual targets are very fast and unaffected by the number of possible targets. This can be explained by the sub-cortical circuitry underlying eye movements, which involves direct mapping between retinal input and motor output in the superior colliculus. Here we asked if the choice-invariance established for the eyes also applies to a special class of fast visuomotor responses of the upper limb. Using a target-pointing paradigm we observed very fast reaction times (<150 ms) which were completely unaffected as the number of possible target choices was increased from 1 to 4. When we introduced a condition of altered stimulus-response mapping, RT went up and a cost of choice was observed. These results can be explained by direct mapping between visual input and motor output, compatible with a sub-cortical pathway for visual control of the upper limb.
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