, Volume 232, Issue 2, pp 385-393
Date: 27 Oct 2013

Grasping with the eyes of your hands: Hapsis and vision modulate hand preference

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Right-hand preference has been demonstrated for visually guided reaching and grasping. Grasping, however, requires the integration of both visual and haptic cues. To what extent does vision influence hand preference for grasping? Is there a hand preference for haptically guided grasping? Two experiments were designed to address these questions. In Experiment 1, individuals were tested in a reaching-to-grasp task with vision (sighted condition) and with hapsis (blindfolded condition). Participants were asked to put together 3D models using building blocks scattered on a tabletop. The models were simple, composed of ten blocks of three different shapes. Starting condition (Vision-First or Hapsis-First) was counterbalanced among participants. Right-hand preference was greater in visually guided grasping but only in the Vision-First group. Participants who initially built the models while blindfolded (Hapsis-First group) used their right hand significantly less for the visually guided portion of the task. To investigate whether grasping using hapsis modifies subsequent hand preference, participants received an additional haptic experience in a follow-up experiment. While blindfolded, participants manipulated the blocks in a container for 5 min prior to the task. This additional experience did not affect right-hand use on visually guided grasping but had a robust effect on haptically guided grasping. Together, the results demonstrate first that hand preference for grasping is influenced by both vision and hapsis, and second, they highlight how flexible this preference could be when modulated by hapsis.