Mouse Tracking Shows Attraction to Alternative Targets While Grounding Spatial Relations


Evidence that higher cognitive processes are coupled in a graded and time-continuous way to sensory-motor processes comes, in part, from mouse-tracking studies. In these, curved mouse trajectories toward one of two fixed response locations reveal the evolution of certainty about a cognitive task that participants solve. We present a paradigm in which selection of the response location is itself the cognitive task. From among items in a visual scene, participants select a target that is described by a spatial relation (e.g., "the red to the left of the green"), where one target item (here, "red") matches the description better than alternative same-colored targets. In the mouse trajectories, we find clear evidence for attraction to the alternative targets, attraction to the reference item (here, "green"), and an early biasing influence of the spatial term.

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