The Phenomenology of Eye Movement Intentions and their Disruption in Goal-Directed Actions

AbstractThe role of intentions in motor planning is heavily weighted in classical psychological theories, but their role in generating eye movements, and our awareness of these oculomotor intentions, has not been investigated explicitly. In this study, the extent to which we monitor oculomotor intentions, i.e. the intentions to shift one’s gaze towards a specific location, and whether they can be expressed in conscious experience, is investigated. A forced-choice decision task was developed where a pair of faces moved systematically across a screen. In some trials, the pair of faces moved additionally as soon as the participants attempted to gaze at one of the faces, preventing them from ever viewing it. The results of the experiment suggest that humans in general do not monitor their eye movement intentions in a way that allows for mismatches between planned gaze landing target and resulting gaze landing target to be consciously experienced during decision-making.


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