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A test between two hypotheses and a possible third way for the control of prehension

Mon-Williams, M. and McIntosh, R.D. (2000) A test between two hypotheses and a possible third way for the control of prehension. Experimental Brain Research, 134 (2). pp. 268-273. ISSN 0014-4819

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We used an obstacle avoidance task to test two opposing accounts of how the nervous system controls prehension. The visuomotor account supposes that the system independently controls the grip formation and transport phase of prehensile movements. In contrast, the digit channel hypothesis suggests that the system controls the thumb and finger more or less independently. Our data strongly favoured the traditional visuomotor channel hypothesis and demonstrated that the time taken to grasp an object in the presence of obstacles was well predicted by a Fitts' law relationship. We suggest a “thirdway” hypothesis in order to retain the advantages of the digit channel hypothesis within the visuomotor framework. The third-way hypothesis suggests that the nervous system selects a single digit to transport to the object. We speculate that the actual digit selected might depend upon attention and the nature of the prehension task. This hypothesis is able to account for most of the empirical findings unearthed by researchers investigating the control of prehension.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: prehension; precision grip; motor programming; visual cues; obstacle avoidance; human
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Medicine and Health (Leeds) > School of Psychology (Leeds) > Cognitive Psychology (Leeds)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2009 10:31
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2015 17:29
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s002210000479
Status: Published
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Identification Number: 10.1007/s002210000479
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8684

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