The perception of limb orientation depends on the center of mass

R.W. van der Langenberg, I. Kingma, P.J. Beek

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Three experiments were conducted to test the hypothesis that the perception of limb orientation depends on inertial eigenvectors against the alternative that it depends on the center of mass. In all experiments, each participant pointed at visible targets with his or her occluded right arm while center-of-mass and inertial eigenvectors were manipulated independently. In Experiments 1 and 2, the arm was constrained to rotate exclusively about the shoulder, whereas in Experiment 3, the arm was allowed to rotate freely about both the shoulder and the elbow. The mechanical manipulations were applied either in the horizontal (Experiments 1 and 3) or vertical (Experiment 2) plane. Across experiments, pointing direction was affected by the center of mass and not by the inertial eigenvectors, albeit that simultaneous manipulation of both resulted in a more pronounced pointing bias than the isolated center-of-mass manipulation. These findings challenge the inertial eigenvector hypothesis and suggest that the center of mass plays a generic role in the perception of limb orientation. © 2008 American Psychological Association.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)624-639
    JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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