Revealing the effects of temporal orienting of attention on response conflict using continuous movements

Melisa Menceloglu*, Satoru Suzuki, Joo Hyun Song

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Orienting attention in time enables us to prepare for forthcoming perception and action (e.g., estimating the duration of a yellow traffic light when driving). While temporal orienting can facilitate performance on simple tasks, its influence on complex tasks involving response conflict is unclear. Here, we adapted the flanker paradigm to a choice-reaching task where participants used a computer mouse to reach to the left or right side of the screen, as indicated by the central arrow presented with either the congruent or incongruent flankers. We assessed the effects of temporal orienting by manipulating goal-driven temporal expectation (using probabilistic variations in target timing) and stimulus-driven temporal priming (using sequential repetitions versus switches in target timing). We tested how temporal orienting influenced the dynamics of response conflict resolution. Recent choice-reaching studies have indicated that under response conflict, delayed movement initiation captures the response threshold adjustment process, whereas increased curvature toward the incorrect response captures the degree of coactivation of the response alternatives during the controlled response selection process. Both temporal expectation and priming reduced the initiation latency regardless of response conflict, suggesting that both lowered response thresholds independently of response conflict. Notably, temporal expectation, but not temporal priming, increased the curvature toward the incorrect response on incongruent trials. These results suggest that temporal orienting generally increases motor preparedness, but goal-driven temporal orienting particularly interferes with response conflict resolution, likely through its influence on response thresholds. Overall, our study highlights the interplay between temporal orienting and cognitive control in goal-directed action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1463-1478
Number of pages16
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Goal-directed movements
  • Perception and action
  • Temporal processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sensory Systems
  • Linguistics and Language


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