22/02/2018 Mathematics Medicine Psychology
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0193185 SemanticScholar ID: 3570650 MAG: 2788696037

Predicting the duration of reach-to-grasp movements to objects with asymmetric contact surfaces

Publication Summary

The duration of reach-to-grasp movements is influenced by the size of the contact surfaces, such that grasping objects with smaller contact surface areas takes longer. But what is the influence of asymmetric contact surfaces? In Experiment 1a, participants reached-to-lift wooden blocks off a table top, with the contact locations for the thumb and index finger varying in surface size. The time taken to lift the block was driven primarily by the thumb contact surface, which showed a larger effect size for the dependent variable of movement duration than the index finger’s contact surface. In Experiment 1b participants reached-to-grasp (but not lift) the blocks. The same effect was found with duration being largely driven by contact surface size for the thumb. Experiment 2 tested whether this finding generalised to movements towards conical frusta grasped in a different plane mounted off the table top. Experiment 2 showed that movement duration again was dictated primarily by the size of the thumb’s contact surface. The thumb contact surface was the visible surface in experiments 1 and 2 so Experiment 3 explored grasping when the index finger’s contact surface was visible (participants grasped the frusta with the index finger at the top). An interaction between thumb and finger surface size was now found to determine movement duration. These findings provide the first empirical report of the impact of asymmetric contact surfaces on prehension, and may have implications for scientists who wish to model reach-to-grasp behaviours.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Mark Mon-Williams

Prof. Mark Mon-Williams

University of Leeds - Chair in Cognitive Psychology

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