Imposed visual feedback delay of an action changes mass perception based on the sensory prediction error

Front Psychol. 2013 Oct 23;4:760. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00760. eCollection 2013.


While performing an action, the timing of when the sensory feedback is given can be used to establish the causal link between the action and its consequence. It has been shown that delaying the visual feedback while carrying an object makes people feel the mass of the object to be greater, suggesting that the feedback timing can also impact the perceived quality of an external object. In this study, we investigated the origin of the feedback timing information that influences the mass perception of the external object. Participants made a straight reaching movement while holding a manipulandum. The movement of the manipulandum was presented as a cursor movement on a monitor. In Experiment 1, various delays were imposed between the actual trajectory and the cursor movement. The participants' perceived mass of the manipulandum significantly increased as the delay increased to 400 ms, but this gain did not reach significance when the delay was 800 ms. This suggests the existence of a temporal tuning mechanism for incorporating the visual feedback into the perception of mass. In Experiment 2, we examined whether the increased mass perception during the visual delay was due to the prediction error of the visual consequence of an action or to the actual delay of the feedback itself. After the participants adapted to the feedback delay, the perceived mass of the object became lighter than before, indicating that updating the temporal prediction model for the visual consequence diminishes the overestimation of the object's mass. We propose that the misattribution of the visual delay into mass perception is induced by the sensorimotor prediction error, possibly when the amount of delay (error) is within the range that can reasonably include the consequence of an action.

Keywords: delay adaptation; feedback delay; mass perception; prediction error; sensorimotor prediction.