Presentation Title

Enhanced Visual Processing for Objects in Peri-hand Space: Does it Matter Which Hand Acts on the Object or Will Any Hand Do?

Format of Presentation

Poster to be presented the Friday of the conference

Abstract

Visual information near the hands may be processed differently, leading to enhanced visual attention, object recognition, and working memory for objects located within peri-hand space. It has been proposed that peri-hand space may have evolved to facilitate visually guided hand movements such as reaching and grasping for an object near the hands. While it is well known that the intention to act activates sensorimotor brain regions responsible for generating the action, it is not known whether the intention to act on an object near the hands might also potentiate visual processing of objects in peri-hand space. To test this, undergraduate students (n= 30) wore an eye tracker and completed a visual search task. Participants either rested their dominant hand near the screen and used the same hand to act on the target object, placed their dominant hand near the screen and used their opposite hand to act on the object, or placed both of their hands in their lap and acted on the target object with their dominant hand—all three conditions were repeated using the participant’s non-dominant hand to control for handedness confounds. The eyetracker and visual search software recorded three dependent variables: accuracy, visual search time, and target fixation duration. We predict that peri-hand space effects will be enhanced when the participant intends to act on the object with the hand that is nearest to it. This would provide preliminary behavioural support for the idea that peri-hand space may have evolved to facilitate visually-guided hand movements.

Department

Psychology

Faculty Advisor

Jenni Karl

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Enhanced Visual Processing for Objects in Peri-hand Space: Does it Matter Which Hand Acts on the Object or Will Any Hand Do?

Visual information near the hands may be processed differently, leading to enhanced visual attention, object recognition, and working memory for objects located within peri-hand space. It has been proposed that peri-hand space may have evolved to facilitate visually guided hand movements such as reaching and grasping for an object near the hands. While it is well known that the intention to act activates sensorimotor brain regions responsible for generating the action, it is not known whether the intention to act on an object near the hands might also potentiate visual processing of objects in peri-hand space. To test this, undergraduate students (n= 30) wore an eye tracker and completed a visual search task. Participants either rested their dominant hand near the screen and used the same hand to act on the target object, placed their dominant hand near the screen and used their opposite hand to act on the object, or placed both of their hands in their lap and acted on the target object with their dominant hand—all three conditions were repeated using the participant’s non-dominant hand to control for handedness confounds. The eyetracker and visual search software recorded three dependent variables: accuracy, visual search time, and target fixation duration. We predict that peri-hand space effects will be enhanced when the participant intends to act on the object with the hand that is nearest to it. This would provide preliminary behavioural support for the idea that peri-hand space may have evolved to facilitate visually-guided hand movements.