Vision in the palm of your hand.

Department of Psychology, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.
Neuropsychologia (Impact Factor: 3.45). 12/2008; 47(6):1621-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2008.11.021
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Here we show that pointing movements made to visual targets projected onto the palm of the hand are more precise and accurate than those made to targets projected onto back of the hand. This advantage may be related to the fact that the number of cortical bimodal neurons coding both visual and tactile stimuli increases with tactile receptor density, which is known to be higher in glabrous than in hairy skin.

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    ABSTRACT: A series of visual search experiments conducted by Abrams et al. (2008) indicates that disengagement of visual attention is slowed when the array of objects that are to be searched are close to the hands (hands on the monitor) than if they are not close to the hands (hands in the lap). These experiments establish the impact one's hands can have on visual attentional processing. In the current paper we more closely examine these two hand postures with the goal of pinpointing which characteristics are crucial for the observed differences in attentional processing. Specifically, in a set of 4 experiments we investigated additional hand postures and additional modes of response to address this goal. We replicated the original Abrams et al. (2008) effect when only the two original postures were used; however, surprisingly, the effect was extinguished with the new range of postures and response modes, and this extinction persisted across different populations (German and English students), and different experimental hardware. Furthermore, analyses indicated that it is unlikely that the extinction of the effect was caused by increased practice due to additional blocks of trials or by an increased probability that participants were able to guess the purpose of the experiment. As such our results suggest that in addition to the nature of the postures of the hand, the number of postures is a further important factor that influences the impact the hands have on visual processing.
    Frontiers in Psychology 01/2013; 4:858. · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Attention operates in the space near the hands with unique, action-related priorities. Here, we examined how attention treats objects on the hands themselves. We tested two hypotheses. First, attention may treat stimuli on the hands like stimuli near the hands, as though the surface of the hands were the proximal case of near-hand space. Alternatively, we proposed that the surface of the hands may be attentionally distinct from the surrounding space. Specifically, we predicted that attention should be slow to orient toward the hands in order to remain entrained to near-hand space, where the targets of actions are usually located. In four experiments, we observed delayed orienting of attention on the hands compared to orienting attention near or far from the hands. Similar delayed orienting was also found for tools connected to the body compared to tools disconnected from the body. These results support our second hypothesis: attention operates differently on the functional surfaces of the hand. We suggest this effect serves a functional role in the execution of manual actions.
    Cognition 10/2014; 133(1):211–225. · 3.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Un-myelinated C tactile afferents (CT afferents) are a key finding in affective touch. These fibers, which activate in response to a caress-like touch to hairy skin (CT afferents are not found in palm skin), may have more in common with interoceptive systems encoding body ownership, than afferent systems processing other tactile stimuli. We tested whether subjective embodiment of a rubber hand (measured through questionnaire items) was increased when tactile stimulation was applied to the back of the hand at a rate optimal for CT afferents (3 cm/s) vs. stimulation of glabrous skin (on the palm of the hand) or at a non-optimal rate (30 cm/s), which should not activate these fibers. We also collected ratings of tactile pleasantness and a measure of perceived limb position, proprioceptive drift, which is mediated by different mechanisms of multisensory integration than those responsible for feelings of ownership. The results of a multiple regression analysis revealed that proprioceptive drift was a significant predictor of subjective strength of the illusion when tactile stimuli were applied to the back of the hand, regardless of stroking speed. This relationship was modified by pleasantness, with higher ratings when stimulation was applied to the back of the hand at the slower vs. faster stroking speed. Pleasantness was also a unique predictor of illusion strength when fast stroking was applied to the palm of the hand. However, there were no conditions under which pleasantness was a significant predictor of drift. Since the illusion was demonstrated at a non-optimal stroking speed an integrative role for CT afferents within the illusion cannot be fully supported. Pleasant touch, however, does moderate the subjective aspects of the rubber hand illusion, which under certain tactile conditions may interact with proprioceptive information about the body or have a unique influence on subjective body perception.
    Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 01/2013; 7:207. · 4.16 Impact Factor

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