The remote distractor effect (RDE) is a robust phenomenon whereby target-directed saccades are delayed by the appearance of a distractor. This effect persists even when the target location is perfectly predictable. The RDE has been studied extensively in the oculomotor domain but it is unknown whether it generalises to other spatially oriented responses. In three experiments, we tested whether the RDE generalises to manual aiming. Experiment 1 required participants to move their hand or eyes to predictable targets presented alone or accompanied by a distractor in the opposite hemifield. The RDE was observed for the eyes but not for the hand. Experiment 2 replicated this dissociation in a more naturalistic task in which eye movements were not constrained during manual aiming. Experiment 3 confirmed the lack of manual RDE across a wider range of distractor delays (0, 50, 100, and 150 ms). Our data imply that the RDE is specific to the oculomotor system, at least for non-foveal distractors. We suggest that the oculomotor RDE reflects competitive interactions between target and distractor representations in the superior colliculus, which are not necessarily shared by manual aiming.
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