Grasping with the eyes: the role of elongation in visual recognition of manipulable objects

Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2014 Mar;14(1):319-35. doi: 10.3758/s13415-013-0208-0.


Processing within the dorsal visual stream subserves object-directed action, whereas visual object recognition is mediated by the ventral visual stream. Recent findings suggest that the computations performed by the dorsal stream can nevertheless influence object recognition. Little is known, however, about the type of dorsal stream information that is available to assist in object recognition. Here, we present a series of experiments that explored different psychophysical manipulations known to bias the processing of a stimulus toward the dorsal visual stream in order to isolate its contribution to object recognition. We show that elongated-shaped stimuli, regardless of their semantic category and familiarity, when processed by the dorsal stream, elicit visuomotor grasp-related information that affects how we categorize manipulable objects. Elongated stimuli may reduce ambiguity during grasp preparation by providing a coarse cue to hand shaping and orientation that is sufficient to support action planning. We propose that this dorsal-stream-based analysis of elongation along a principal axis is the basis for how the dorsal visual object processing stream can affect categorization of manipulable objects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Hand
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Psychophysics
  • Reaction Time
  • Repetition Priming