Journal Article

Looming motion primes the visuomotor system


A wealth of evidence now shows that human and animal observers display greater sensitivity to objects that move toward them than to objects that remain static or move away. Increased sensitivity in humans is often evidenced by reaction times that increase in rank order from looming, to receding, to static targets. However, it is not clear whether the processing advantage enjoyed by looming motion is mediated by the attention system or the motor system. The present study investigated this by first examining whether sensitivity is to looming motion per se or to certain monocular or binocular cues that constitute stereoscopic motion in depth. None of the cues accounted for the looming advantage. A perceptual measure was then used to examine performance with minimal involvement of the motor system. Results showed that looming and receding motion were equivalent in attracting attention, suggesting that the looming advantage is indeed mediated by the motor system. These findings suggest that although motion itself is sufficient for attentional capture, motion direction can prime motor responses.

Attached files


Skarratt, P
Gellatly, A
Cole, G
Pilling, M
Hulleman, J

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Department of Psychology
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences


Year of publication: 2013
Date of RADAR deposit: 2013-12-13

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This RADAR resource is the Accepted Manuscript of Looming motion primes the visuomotor system


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