Handedness, laterality and the size-weight illusion

Gavin Buckingham, Nathalie S Ranger, Melvyn A Goodale

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    20 Citations (Scopus)


    The goal of this study was to determine how handedness and lifting hand influence the way in which we lift objects and perceive their weights. To this end, we examined the fingertip forces and perceptual judgements of 30 left-handers and 30 right-handers during lifts of specially constructed 'size-weight illusion' (SWI) cubes with their left and right hands. All participants completed a series of lifts first with one hand and then the other, so we could additionally examine asymmetries in the retention and transfer of force information between the limbs. Right-handers experienced a larger illusion with their left hand than they did with their right hand, whereas left-handers showed no such asymmetry in their illusions. The perceptual illusion's independence from the application of fingertip force was highlighted by an unexpected lack of asymmetry in terms of fingertip force scaling. Left- and right-handers showed no dominant hand advantage in this task - they were no more skilled at correcting their fingertip force errors with their preferred hand than they were with their non-preferred hand. In addition, although no asymmetries were observed with regard to the most efficient direction of intermanual transfer, the right-handed individuals transferred force information between the hands more effectively than the left-handers. Overall, these findings indicate that hand dominance does not affect the control of the fingertip forces, suggesting that existing models of cerebral laterality must be re-visited to consider kinetic (i.e., related to forces), as well as kinematic (i.e., related to movement) variables.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1342-50
    Number of pages9
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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