Target selection before you know you know; predictive, symbolic cues in a go-before-you-know task


Inhibition of Return (IOR) has been observed in reaching movements to a known target location following predictive symbolic cues, even when participants were not aware of the predictive nature of the cues (Swansburg & Neyedli, 2019). Facilitatory like effects, as they appear in traditional cue-target paradigms, yet to be observed in response to these cues. The aim of the current study is to determine if facilitatory effects occur in response to centrally presented, predictive symbolic cues. Participants were presented with two potential target locations on either side of a computer screen. Once the symbolic cue was presented participants initiated a reaching movement to a potential target location and the true target location was only revealed at movement onset. Two of the symbolic cues were predictive where the target would appear more often on one side of the screen than the other, a third symbolic cue was unpredictive in that the target appeared on each side of the screen an equal number of times. Participant's choice of target side was influenced by the predictive symbolic cues where they reached right more often following a right target predictive cue compared to a left target predictive cue or a neutral, unpredictive cue. These findings provide evidence that under end-goal uncertainty symbolic cues elicit facilitatory effects; participants used the learned association between cue type and target location advantageously to facilitate target acquisition.

Acknowledgments: NSERC