Visual size cues in the programming of manipulative forces during precision grip

Exp Brain Res. 1991;83(3):477-82. doi: 10.1007/BF00229824.


A size-weight illusion was used to examine the role of visual cues in the programming of manipulative forces during the lifting of test objects utilizing the precision grip. Three different boxes of equal weight and unequal size were lifted. These were equipped with an instrumented grip handle to measure the employed grip force, load force (vertical lifting force), force rates and vertical movement. All fifteen subjects participating in the study reported that the smallest box was the heaviest, which is consistent with size-weight illusion predictions. However, the rate of increase of the isometric grip and load forces initially during the lift, the peaks of the grip and load force and the vertical acceleration were all found to increase with the box size. Thus, despite the conscious perception indicating a heavier weight for the small object, the motor program was scaled for a lighter weight. Yet, no differences were found in grip force during the static phase of the lift, where weight related information was apparently available via sensory feedback. Previous studies have reported that the programming of the precision grip is based on somatosensory information gained during previous lifts (Johansson and Westling 1984, 1988a, b). The present study suggests that visual cues are integrated in the programming of manipulative forces during precision grip.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Vision, Ocular*
  • Visual Perception*
  • Weights and Measures