Previous research on dual-tasks has shown that, under some circumstances actions impair the perception of action-consistent stimuli, while under other conditions actions facilitate their perception. This paper proposes a new model to reconcile these contrasting findings. It suggests that action planning binds categorical representations of action features, so that they are less available for perceptual processing. Movement control, on the other hand, integrates sensory information about the movement, and, therefore, facilitates perceptual processing of stimuli that are spatially consistent with the action. The paper shows that the Planning and Control Model is consistent with a wide range of empirical data and yields previously untested empirical predictions.
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Schematic illustration of the PCM. Motor planning binds categorical representations of the action features (solid line between “category left” and “valence positive”), so that potential connections to other cognitive processes, such as perception, are inhibited. Motor control activates spatial representations of the action, so that their potential connections to other cognitive processes, such as perception, are facilitated in general. This has the effect that, during motor processing, the perceptual processing of categorically action consistent stimuli is impaired, while the perceptual processing of spatially action consistent stimuli is facilitated.