The Ponzo illusion affects grip-force but not grip-aperture scaling during prehension movements

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2000 Feb;26(1):418-23. doi: 10.1037//0096-1523.26.1.418.


Contextual cues such as linear perspective and relative size can exert a powerful effect on the perception of objects. This fact is demonstrated by the illusory effects that can be induced by such cues (e.g., the Ponzo railway track and Titchener circles illusions). Several recent studies have reported, however, that visual illusions based on such cues have little or no influence on the visuomotor mechanisms used to guide hand action. Furthermore, evidence of this sort has been cited in support of a distinction between visual perception and the visual control of action. In the current study, the authors investigated the effect of the Ponzo visual illusion on the control of hand action, specifically, the scaling of grip force and grip aperture during prehension movements. The results demonstrate that grip force scaling is significantly influenced by the Ponzo visual illusion, whereas the scaling of grip aperture is unaffected by the illusion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Illusions / physiology*
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Perception / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*