Does visuomotor adaptation contribute to illusion-resistant grasping?

Evan Cesanek, Carlo Campagnoli, Jordan A. Taylor, Fulvio Domini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Do illusory distortions of perceived object size influence how wide the hand is opened during a grasping movement? Many studies on this question have reported illusion-resistant grasping, but this finding has been contradicted by other studies showing that grasping movements and perceptual judgments are equally susceptible. One largely unexplored explanation for these contradictions is that illusion effects on grasping can be reduced with repeated movements. Using a visuomotor adaptation paradigm, we investigated whether an adaptation model could predict the time course of Ponzo illusion effects on grasping. Participants performed a series of trials in which they viewed a thin wooden target, manually reported an estimate of the target’s length, then reached to grasp the target. Manual size estimates (MSEs) were clearly biased by the illusion, but maximum grip apertures (MGAs) of grasping movements were consistently accurate. Illusion-resistant MGAs were observed immediately upon presentation of the illusion, so there was no decrement in susceptibility for the adaptation model to explain. To determine whether online corrections based on visual feedback could have produced illusion-resistant MGAs, we performed an exploratory post hoc analysis of movement trajectories. Early portions of the illusion effect profile evolved as if they were biased by the illusion to the same magnitude as the perceptual responses (MSEs), but this bias was attenuated prior to the MGA. Overall, this preregistered study demonstrated that visuomotor adaptation of grasping is not the primary source of illusion resistance in closed-loop grasping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)827-845
Number of pages19
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


  • Manual size estimation
  • Ponzo illusion
  • Reach-to-grasp
  • Visuomotor adaptation


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