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Dimitris Voudouris, Jeroen B. J. Smeets, Katja Fiehler, Eli Brenner; Gaze when reaching to grasp a glass. Journal of Vision 2018;18(8):16. doi: 10.1167/18.8.16.
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People have often been reported to look near their index finger's contact point when grasping. They have only been reported to look near the thumb's contact point when grasping an opaque object at eye height with a horizontal grip—thus when the region near the index finger's contact point is occluded. To examine to what extent being able to see the digits' final trajectories influences where people look, we compared gaze when reaching to grasp a glass of water or milk that was placed at eye or hip height. Participants grasped the glass and poured its contents into another glass on their left. Surprisingly, most participants looked nearer to their thumb's contact point. To examine whether this was because gaze was biased toward the position of the subsequent action, which was to the left, we asked participants in a second experiment to grasp a glass and either place it or pour its contents into another glass either to their left or right. Most participants' gaze was biased to some extent toward the position of the next action, but gaze was not influenced consistently across participants. Gaze was also not influenced consistently across the experiments for individual participants—even for those who participated in both experiments. We conclude that gaze is not simply determined by the identity of the digit or by details of the contact points, such as their visibility, but that gaze is just as sensitive to other factors, such as where one will manipulate the object after grasping.
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