The target as an obstacle: Grasping an object at different heights

Rebekka Verheij*, Jeroen B.J. Smeets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Humans use a stereotypical movement pattern to grasp a target object. What is the cause of this stereotypical pattern? One of the possible factors is that the target object is considered an obstacle at positions other than the envisioned goal positions for the digits: while each digit aims for a goal position on the target object, they avoid other positions on the target object even if these positions do not obstruct the movement. According to this hypothesis, the maximum grip aperture will be higher if the risk of colliding with the target object is larger. Based on this hypothesis, we made a set of two unique predictions for grasping a vertically oriented cuboid at its sides at different heights. For cuboids of the same height, the maximum grip aperture will be smaller when grasped higher. For cuboids whose height varies with grip height, the maximum grip aperture will be larger when grasped higher. Both predicted relations were experimentally confirmed. This result supports the idea that considering the target object as an obstacle at positions other than the envisioned goal positions for the digits is underlying the stereotypical movement patterns in grasping. The goal positions of the digits thus influence the maximum grip aperture even if the distance between the goal positions on the target object does not change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-196
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Movement Science
Volume61
Early online date28 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

Keywords

  • Human
  • Kinematics
  • Limb movement
  • Movement control
  • Prehension
  • Visuomotor behavior

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