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J Neurosci. 2001 Sep 1;21(17):6917-32.

Eye-hand coordination in object manipulation.

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1
Department of Integrative Medical Biology, Section for Physiology, Umeå University, S-90187 Umeå, Sweden. Roland.S.Johansson@physiol.umu.se

Abstract

We analyzed the coordination between gaze behavior, fingertip movements, and movements of the manipulated object when subjects reached for and grasped a bar and moved it to press a target-switch. Subjects almost exclusively fixated certain landmarks critical for the control of the task. Landmarks at which contact events took place were obligatory gaze targets. These included the grasp site on the bar, the target, and the support surface where the bar was returned after target contact. Any obstacle in the direct movement path and the tip of the bar were optional landmarks. Subjects never fixated the hand or the moving bar. Gaze and hand/bar movements were linked concerning landmarks, with gaze leading. The instant that gaze exited a given landmark coincided with a kinematic event at that landmark in a manner suggesting that subjects monitored critical kinematic events for phasic verification of task progress and subgoal completion. For both the obstacle and target, subjects directed saccades and fixations to sites that were offset from the physical extension of the objects. Fixations related to an obstacle appeared to specify a location around which the extending tip of the bar should travel. We conclude that gaze supports hand movement planning by marking key positions to which the fingertips or grasped object are subsequently directed. The salience of gaze targets arises from the functional sensorimotor requirements of the task. We further suggest that gaze control contributes to the development and maintenance of sensorimotor correlation matrices that support predictive motor control in manipulation.

PMID:
11517279
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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