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Exp Brain Res. 2014 Mar;232(3):919-25. doi: 10.1007/s00221-013-3804-x. Epub 2013 Dec 15.

How posture affects macaques' reach-to-grasp movements.

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Department of General Psychology, University of Padua, Via Venezia 8, 35131, Padua, Italy.


Although there is a wealth of behavioral data regarding grasping movements in non-human primates, how posture influences the kinematics of prehensile behavior is not yet clearly understood. The purpose of this study was to examine and compare kinematic descriptions of grip behaviors while primates (macaque monkeys) were in a sitting posture or when stopping after quadrupedal locomotion (i.e., tripedal stance). Video footage taken while macaques grasped objects was analyzed frame-by-frame using digitalization techniques. Each of the two grip types considered (power and precision grips) was found to be characterized by specific, distinct kinematic signatures for both the reaching and the grasping components when those actions were performed in a sitting position. The grasping component did not differentiate in relation to the type of grip that was needed when, instead, the prehensile action took place in a tripedal stance. Quadrupedal locomotion affected the concomitant organization of prehensile activities determining in fact a similar kinematic patterning for the two grips regardless of the size of the object to be grasped. It is suggested that using a single kinematic grip patterning for all prehensile activities might be both the by-product of planning a grasping action while walking and a way to simplify motor programming during unstable tripedal stance.

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