Automatic online control of motor adjustments in reaching and grasping

Neuropsychologia. 2014 Mar:55:25-40. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.12.005. Epub 2013 Dec 13.


Following the princeps investigations of Marc Jeannerod on action-perception, specifically, goal-directed movement, this review article addresses visual and non-visual processes involved in guiding the hand in reaching or grasping tasks. The contributions of different sources of correction of ongoing movements are considered; these include visual feedback of the hand, as well as the often-neglected but important spatial updating and sharpening of goal localization following gaze-saccade orientation. The existence of an automatic online process guiding limb trajectory toward its goal is highlighted by a series of princeps experiments of goal-directed pointing movements. We then review psychophysical, electrophysiological, neuroimaging and clinical studies that have explored the properties of these automatic corrective mechanisms and their neural bases, and established their generality. Finally, the functional significance of automatic corrective mechanisms-referred to as motor flexibility-and their potential use in rehabilitation are discussed.

Keywords: Double-step paradigm; Eye movements; Eye-hand coordination; Grasping; Motor flexibility; Online control of movement; Parietal cortex; Reaching; Rehabilitation; Saccade.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arm / physiology*
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Hand Strength / physiology
  • Humans
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology