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Differences in fixations between grasping and viewing objects

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Author: Brouwer, A.M. · Franz, V.H. · Gegenfurtner, K.R.
Institution: TNO Defensie en Veiligheid
Source:Journal of Vision, 1, 9, 1-24
Identifier: 181254
doi: doi:10.1167/9.1.18
Article number: 18
Keywords: Vision · Eye movements · Eye-hand coordination · Fixation locations · Grasping · Visuo-motor · adaptation · adaptive behavior · adult · comparative study · eye fixation · eye movement · female · finger · hand strength · human · male · physiology · psychomotor performance · thumb · time · vision · Adaptation, Physiological · Adult · Eye Movements · Feedback, Psychological · Female · Fingers · Fixation, Ocular · Hand Strength · Humans · Male · Psychomotor Performance · Thumb · Time Factors · Vision, Ocular · Young Adult


Where exactly do people look when they grasp an object? An object is usually contacted at two locations, whereas the gaze can only be at one location at the time. We investigated participants' fixation locations when they grasp objects with the contact positions of both index finger and thumb being visible and compared these to fixation locations when they only viewed the objects. Participants grasped with the index finger at the top and the thumb at the bottom of a flat shape. The main difference between grasping and viewing was that after a saccade roughly directed to the object's center of gravity, participants saccaded more upward and more into the direction of a region that was difficult to contact during grasping. A control experiment indicated that it was not the upper part of the shape that attracted fixation, while the results were consistent with an attraction by the index finger. Participants did not try to fixate both contact locations. Fixations were closer to the object's center of gravity in the viewing than in the grasping task. In conclusion, participants adapt their eye movements to the need of the task, such as acquiring information about regions with high required contact precision in grasping, even with small (graspable) objects. We suggest that in grasping, the main function of fixations is to acquire visual feedback of the approaching digits. © ARVO.