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Differences Between Intention-Based and Stimulus-Based Actions.

Actions carried out in response to exogenous stimuli and actions selected endogenously on the basis of intentions were compared in terms of their behavioral (movement timing) and electrophysiological (EEG) profiles. Participants performed a temporal bisection task that involved making left or right key presses at the midpoint between isochronous pacing signals (a sequence of centrally-presented letters). In separate conditions, the identity of each letter either (1) prescribed the location of the subsequent key press response (stimulus-based) or (2) was determined by the location of the preceding key press, in which case participants were instructed to generate a random sequence of letters (intention-based). The behavioral results indicated that stimulus-based movements occurred earlier in time than intention-based movements. The EEG results revealed that activity reflecting stimulus evaluation and response selection was most pronounced in the stimulus-based condition, whereas activity associated with the general readiness to act was strongest in the intention-based condition. Together, the behavioral and electrophysiological findings provide evidence for two modes of action planning, one mediated by stimulus-response bindings and the other by action-effect bindings. The comparison of our results to those of an earlier study (Waszak et al., 2005) that employed spatially congruent visuo-motor mappings rather than symbolic visuo-motor mappings suggests that intention-based actions are controlled by similar neural pathways in both cases, but stimulus-based actions are not. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)



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