Localization of a seen finger is based exclusively on proprioception and on vision of the finger

R.J. van Beers, A.C. Sittig, J.J. Denier van der Gon

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    In a previous study we investigated how the CNS combines simultaneous visual and proprioceptive information about the position of the finger. We found that localization of the index finger of a seen hand was more precise (a smaller variance) than could reasonably be expected from the precision of localization on the basis of vision only and proprioception only. This suggests that, in localizing the tip of the index finger of a seen hand, the CNS may make use of more information than proprioceptive information and visual information about the fingertip. In the present study we investigate whether this additional information stems from additional sources of sensory information. In experiment 1 we tested whether seeing an entire arm instead of only the fingertip gives rise to a more precise proprioceptive and/or visual localization of that fingertip. In experiment 2 we checked whether the presence of a structured visual environment leads to a more precise proprioceptive localization of the index finger of an unseen hand. In experiment 3 we investigated whether looking in the direction of the index finger of an unseen hand improves proprioceptive localization of that finger. We found no significant effect in any of the experiments. The results refute the hypothesis that the investigated effects can explain the previously reported very precise localization of a seen hand. This suggests that localization of a seen finger is based exclusively on proprioception and on vision of the finger. The results suggest that these sensory signals may contain more information than is described by the magnitude of their variances.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)43-49
    Number of pages7
    JournalExperimental Brain Research
    Volume125
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1999

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