Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 232, Issue 6, pp 1677–1688 | Cite as

The contribution of cognitive, kinematic, and dynamic factors to anticipatory grasp selection

  • Oliver HerbortEmail author
  • Martin V. Butz
  • Wilfried Kunde
Research Article


Object-directed grasping movements are usually adjusted in anticipation of the direction and extent of a subsequent object rotation. Such anticipatory grasp selections have been mostly explained in terms of the kinematics of the arm movement. However, object rotations of different directions and extents also differ in their dynamics and in how the tasks are represented. Here, we examined how the dynamics, the kinematics, and the cognitive representation of an object manipulation affect anticipatory grasp selections. We asked participants to grasp an object and rotate it by different angles and in different directions. To examine the influence of dynamic factors, we varied the object’s weight. To examine the influence of the cognitive task representation, we instructed identical object rotations as either toward-top or away-from-top rotations. While instructed object rotation and cognitive task representation did affect grasp selection over the entire course of the experiment, a rather small effect of object weight only appeared late in the experiment. We suggest that grasp selections are determined on different levels. The representation of the kinematics of the object movement determines grasp selection on a trial-by-trial basis. The effect of object weight affects grasp selection by a slower adaptation process. This result implies that even simple motor acts, such as grasping, can only be understood when cognitive factors, such as the task representation, are taken into account.


Anticipatory actions Grasping End-state comfort effect Dynamics Kinematics Task representation 



This work was funded by Grant HE 6710/2-1 of the German Research Foundation (DFG). We thank Michael Herbort, Albrecht Sebald, and Georg Schüssler for technical support and Wladimir Kirsch for helpful discussions.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

221_2014_3849_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (328 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 329 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oliver Herbort
    • 1
    Email author
  • Martin V. Butz
    • 2
  • Wilfried Kunde
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WürzburgWürzburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany

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