Visual control of hand action

Trends Cogn Sci. 1997 Nov;1(8):310-7. doi: 10.1016/S1364-6613(97)01091-7.


Recent investigations in normal and brain-damaged individuals have begun to identify the types of visual information used to plan and guide reaches. Binocular visual cues have been shown to be important for both movement planning and on-line guidance of hand movements, while emerging evidence suggests that dynamic visual analysis of the moving limb may provide a rich source of information for precise control of the hand in flight. Reaching movements appear to be planned to follow what is perceived to be a straight trajectory in peripersonal space. Furthermore, the process of selecting visual targets appears to influence hand trajectories, with hand movements curving away from non-target objects. This behaviour may be explained most effectively by a dynamic representation of space which is sculpted by attentional mechanisms into selected (target) and inhibited (non-target) regions. The role of attention in movement planning in individuals with attentional disorders is controversial. Patients with visual neglect have impairments of visuomotor control including reaches that, under certain conditions, are significantly more curved than those of normal individuals. The representations of space that neglect patients use to plan reaches may be distorted by impairments in the mechanisms that normally act to select target regions and inhibit non-target zones.