Selective perturbation of visual input during prehension movements. 2. The effects of changing object size

Exp Brain Res. 1991;87(2):407-20. doi: 10.1007/BF00231858.


1. Subjects were instructed to reach and grasp cylindrical objects, using a precision grip. The objects were two concentric dowels made of translucent material placed at 35 cm from the subject. The inner ("small") dowel was 10 cm high and 1.5 cm in diameter. The outer ("large") dowel was 6 cm high and 6 cm in diameter. Prehension movements were monitored using a Selspot system. The displacement of a marker placed at the wrist level was used as an index for the transport of the hand at the location of the object. Markers placed at the tips of the thumb and the index finger were used for measuring the size of aperture of the finger grip. 2. Kinematics of transport and grasp components were computed from the filtered displacement signals. Movement time (MT), time to peak velocity (TPV) and time to peak deceleration (TPD) of the wrist, time to peak velocity of grip aperture (TGV), time to maximum grip aperture (TGA) were the main parameters used for comparing the movements in different conditions. Spatial paths of the wrist, thumb and index markers were reconstructed in two dimensions. Variability of the spatial paths over repeated trials was computed as the surface of the ellipses defined by X and Y standard deviations from the mean path. 3. Computer controlled illumination of one of the dowels was the signal for reaching toward that dowel. Blocks of trials were made to the small dowel and to the large dowel. Mean MT during blocked trials was 550 ms. The acceleration phase of the movements (measured by parameter TPV) represented 33% of MT. About half of MT (52%) was spent after TPD in a low velocity phase while the hand was approaching the object. This kinematic pattern was not influenced by whether movements were directed at small or large dowels. 4. Grip aperture progressively increased during transport of the hand. TGA corresponded to about 60% of MT, that is, maximum grip aperture was reached during the low velocity phase of transport. Following TGA, fingers closed around the object until contact was made. This pattern of grip formation differed whether the movement was directed at the large or the small dowel: TGA occurred often earlier for the small dowel, and the size of the maximum grip aperture was larger for the large dowel. Variability of both the wrist and finger spatial paths was larger during the first half of MT, and tended to become very low as the hand approached the dowels.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fingers / innervation
  • Fingers / physiology
  • Hand / innervation
  • Hand / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Muscles / innervation
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Visual Perception*
  • Wrist / innervation
  • Wrist / physiology