Grasping adjustments to haptic, visual, and visuo-haptic object perturbations are contingent on the sensory modality

Ivan Camponogara, Robert Volcic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Haptics provides information about the size and position of a handheld object. However, it is still unknown how haptics contributes to action correction if a sudden perturbation causes a change in the configuration of the handheld object. In this study, we have occasionally perturbed the size of an object that was the target of a right-hand reach-to-grasp movement. In some cases, participants were holding the target object with their left hand, which provided haptic information about the object perturbation. We compared the corrective responses to perturbations in three different sensory conditions: visual (participants had full vision of the object, but haptic information from the left hand was prevented), haptic (object size was sensed by the left hand and vision was prevented), and visuo-haptic (both visual and haptic information were available throughout the movement). We found that haptic inputs evoked faster contralateral corrections than visual inputs, although actions in haptic and visual conditions were similar in movement duration. Strikingly, the corrective responses in the visuo-haptic condition were as fast as those found in the haptic condition, a result that is contrary to that predicted by simple summation of unisensory signals. These results suggest the existence of a haptomotor reflex that can trigger automatic and efficient grasping corrections of the contralateral hand that are faster than those initiated by the well-known visuomotor reflex and the tactile-motor reflex.NEW & NOTEWORTHY We show that online grip aperture corrections during grasping actions are contingent on the sensory modality used to detect the object perturbation. We found that sensing perturbations with the contralateral hand only (haptics) leads to faster action corrections than when object perturbations are only visually sensed. Moreover, corrections following visuo-haptic perturbations were as fast as those to haptic perturbations. Thus a haptomotor reflex triggers faster automatic responses than the visuomotor reflex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2614-2620
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • grip aperture correction
  • haptics
  • haptomotor reflex
  • multisensory integration
  • vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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