Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Defensive actions involving goal-directed responses to visual stimuli presented in different parts of the viewing field commonly include movements either toward (TOWARD) or away from (AWAY) the actual stimulus. One can categorize the type of defensive movements by outcome or the level of stimulus-response (S-R) compatibility, where a congruent response corresponds to a response in the TOWARD condition and an incongruent response corresponds to a response in the AWAY condition. In an effort to better understand defensive responses, which have received less attention in the literature than offensive movements regardless of their importance in combative situations, we studied the responses of quick yaw head rotations in the TOWARD and AWAY conditions to visual stimuli presented in different parts of the viewing field. In the first experiment (chapter 2) we examined the test-retest reliability of the primary and secondary measures associated with the quick yaw head rotations. After achieving an acceptable level of reliability for most measures, we investigated the effects of S-R compatibility and target eccentricity on the primary measures of reaction time of head rotation (RT) and activity of the sternocleidomastoid muscles of the neck (premotor RT) and the secondary measures of movement time, peak velocity, head excursion and the electromechanical delay for yaw head rotations (chapter 3). We found an increase in RT and premotor RT for yaw head rotations with large increases in visual field target eccentricity and involving incongruent responses observed in the AWAY condition. In chapter 4 we examined the effects of practice in the TOWARD or AWAY condition on performances in both conditions. We observed a shorter RT and premotor RT after 6 days of practice (over 2 weeks), regardless of condition practiced or of performance. Most subjects who practiced in the TOWARD condition produced greater decreases in RT and premotor RT for the TOWARD condition and most subjects who practiced in the AWAY condition produced greater decreases in RT and premotor RT for the AWAY condition. These data also suggest faster reactions in response to stimuli in the central visual field occur with practice. These results suggest reactions will be slowest for responses to objects in the far peripheral visual field and when trying to avoid object contact. RT and premotor RT at each eccentricity and for each condition can definitely improve with practice. The present results also provide small but potential added benefits for specificity of condition training. The parallel findings for RT and premotor RT suggest that outcomes observed for quick yaw head rotation RTs were primarily due to changes in neural processing time.
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Kwon, Taegyong, "Target eccentricity effects for defensive responses" (2010). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 1037.
Hondzinski, Jan M.