Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
A dot-probe paradigm was used to provide physiological evidence for the parallel selection of multiple movement goals before rapid hand movement sequences. Participants executed a sequence of manual pointing movements to two out of three possible goal positions. During movement preparation, a task-irrelevant visual transient (a dot probe) was flashed either at one of both movement goals, or at the third, movement-irrelevant location. The results revealed that the N1 component induced by the presentation of the dot was enhanced if the dot was flashed at one of the movement goals, indicating that both target positions were attended before the initialization of the movement sequence. A second experiment showed that movement-irrelevant locations between the movement goals were not attended, suggesting that attention splits into spatially distinct foci.