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Trends Cogn Sci. 2001 Sep 1;5(9):379-382.

When does action resist visual illusions?

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Dipartimento di Psicologia, Università di Trieste, via S. Anastasio 12, 34143, Trieste, Italy


Over the past decade, many studies of non-pathological individuals have reported functional dissociations between perceptual judgments and motor responses. These results suggested an interpretation of the ventral and dorsal streams in the primate visual system as independent modules for visual awareness and the visual guidance of actions. However, recent comparisons of perception and grasping responses in size-contrast displays have been widely reported to show that apparent dissociations are actually experimental artifacts. An overview of the literature suggests that the issue of visuomotor dissociations in healthy individuals is far from settled. Some results suggest that immunity from visual illusions might be found when task requirements emphasize observer-relative reference frames. These results suggest that the functional specialization of the two visual subsystems might be less rigid than originally posited.


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