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Robert Volcic, Carlo Fantoni, Corrado Caudek, Fulvio Domini; Compression of motor space expands perceptual spaces. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):1050. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/12.9.1050.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Seeing the arm in a different position than the actual, induces visuo-motor recalibration that rapidly modifies motor commands when reaching towards objects. Here we ask whether visuo-motor training affects not only motor, but also perceptual aspects both in visual and somatosensory domains. Recently, we showed that judgments about the relative depth of 3D objects, measured with a manual depth estimation task, increased after a visuo-motor training that compressed the motor space in depth (Volcic et al., VSS 2011).
Although it is considered that the manual estimation task reflects perceptual judgments, it still comprises motor components. In Experiment 1, to obtain a purely perceptual measure, we asked observers to adjust the width of a virtual object in order to match it to its depth extent. Different disparity-defined objects were positioned at several viewing distances with consistent vergence and accommodative cues. The adjustment task was performed before and after a visuo-motor training in which participants made reach-to-point movements in depth towards a target. Visuo-motor training was of two kinds: vision and proprioception were either congruent or incongruent. When incongruent, the visual feedback of the index finger was displaced farther in depth.
The perceived relative depth consistently increased after the incongruent, but not after the congruent visuo-motor training, emphasizing the relationship between motor and visual perceptual processes. In Experiment 2, we studied the effects of visuo-motor training on somatosensory perceptual processes by measuring two-point tactile discrimination thresholds on the exposed arm. We found that tactile spatial resolution was improved following incongruent visuo-motor training. Taken together, these results suggest that our visual and somatosensory perceptual experiences strongly depend on the sensorimotor contingencies that are established through the interaction with the surrounding world.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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