The effects of endogenous auditory cue-target congruency on upper limb rapid goal-directed reaching


Sutton, J.C., Aina, A.O., and Glazebrook, C.M. Previous research found that congruent exogenous auditory cues biased and enhanced goal-directed reaching in a multi-target task. The current study assessed if endogenous auditory cues, that require voluntary shifts in attention, can similarly be used to effectively capture attention when performing a multi-target reaching task. Eleven right-handed individuals (mean age 22.2 years; 5 males) with normal or corrected-to-normal vision and hearing, performed a rapid multi-target reaching task towards four 4cm square targets displayed on a touch screen (Dell ST2220T). Three endogenous auditory cues (no sound, valid and invalid) were randomized. An Optotrak 3D Investigator (NDI) was used to measure reach trajectories at 500Hz. Following a variable fore-period (300-850ms) the target array turned green, which was the visual signal for participants to begin moving. Upon movement initiation, an auditory cue (0Hz, 250Hz, or 1250Hz) was emitted and one of four equiprobable visual targets was identified. Participants were asked to quickly and accurately continue their reach to the identified target. Performance measures and movement trajectories were analysed using repeated measures ANOVAs (3 Cue X 4 Target and 3 Cue X 4 Target X 5 Movement Proportion, respectively). Reaction time was significantly shorter in the valid condition. Movement trajectory deviations between upper and lower targets became significant at 60% of movement time, regardless of the auditory cue. Thus, the present results do not support the same advantage of cue-target congruency for endogenous auditory cues that was observed previously for exogenous auditory cues.

Acknowledgments: The Funding for this project was provided by Natural Sciences and engineering research council of Canada.