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Full Access The effect of task-irrelevant stimulus ‘graspability’ on reaching actions

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The effect of task-irrelevant stimulus ‘graspability’ on reaching actions

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Reaching and grasping requires integration of visual, proprioceptive and somatosensory inputs. Previous research has shown that manipulating the ‘graspabilty’ of a visual stimulus influences reaction times to that stimulus (e.g., Tucker and Ellis, 1998). Here we explored whether this same effect can be extended to the planning and online control of arm movements. Participants made a mimed reaching movement with their left or right hand depending on the colour of images of affordance (door handles) and control stimuli (a row of dots of similar size and orientation as the door handle). Stimulus onset was manipulated by changing when the grey stimulus changed colour. Stimuli either pointed towards (compatible) or pointed away from (incompatible) the responding hand. Spatially compatible affordance stimuli facilitated reach onset compared to other stimuli and compatibility combinations, replicating previous reaction time studies. This can be attributed to a priming of the motor system by spatially compatible affording items. Results also indicated a larger outwards deviation of reach trajectory for spatially incompatible control stimuli compared to spatially compatible control stimuli, which waned with stimulus onset delay. This reveals an immediate inhibitory effect on reach trajectory, such that outwards movement is over-compensated to negate this incompatible orientation. Overall, we observed that the effect of visual spatial compatibility on reach kinematics differs with the action relevance of the stimulus. We are currently exploring how this multisensory visuomotor effect changes with age.

Affiliations: 1: The University of Manchester, GB

Reaching and grasping requires integration of visual, proprioceptive and somatosensory inputs. Previous research has shown that manipulating the ‘graspabilty’ of a visual stimulus influences reaction times to that stimulus (e.g., Tucker and Ellis, 1998). Here we explored whether this same effect can be extended to the planning and online control of arm movements. Participants made a mimed reaching movement with their left or right hand depending on the colour of images of affordance (door handles) and control stimuli (a row of dots of similar size and orientation as the door handle). Stimulus onset was manipulated by changing when the grey stimulus changed colour. Stimuli either pointed towards (compatible) or pointed away from (incompatible) the responding hand. Spatially compatible affordance stimuli facilitated reach onset compared to other stimuli and compatibility combinations, replicating previous reaction time studies. This can be attributed to a priming of the motor system by spatially compatible affording items. Results also indicated a larger outwards deviation of reach trajectory for spatially incompatible control stimuli compared to spatially compatible control stimuli, which waned with stimulus onset delay. This reveals an immediate inhibitory effect on reach trajectory, such that outwards movement is over-compensated to negate this incompatible orientation. Overall, we observed that the effect of visual spatial compatibility on reach kinematics differs with the action relevance of the stimulus. We are currently exploring how this multisensory visuomotor effect changes with age.

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1. Tucker M. , Ellis R. ( 1998). "On the relations between seen objects and components of potential actions", Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance Vol 24, 830846. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.24.3.830
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/content/journals/10.1163/187847612x647315
2012-01-01
2017-04-30

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