Not only perception but also grasping actions can obey Weber's law

Zoltan Derzsi, Robert Volcic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Weber's law, the principle that the uncertainty of perceptual estimates increases proportionally with object size, is regularly violated when considering the uncertainty of the grip aperture during grasping movements. The origins of this perception-action dissociation are debated and are attributed to various reasons, including different coding of visual size information for perception and action, biomechanical factors, the use of positional information to guide grasping, or, sensorimotor calibration. Here, we contrasted these accounts and compared perceptual and grasping uncertainties by asking people to indicate the visually perceived center of differently sized objects (Perception condition) or to grasp and lift the same objects with the requirement to achieve a balanced lift (Action condition). We found that the variability (uncertainty) of contact positions increased as a function of object size in both perception and action. The adherence of the Action condition to Weber's law and the consequent absence of a perception-action dissociation contradict the predictions based on different coding of visual size information and sensorimotor calibration. These findings provide clear evidence that human perceptual and visuomotor systems rely on the same visual information and suggest that the previously reported violations of Weber's law in grasping movements should be attributed to other factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105465
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Action
  • Grasping
  • Perception
  • Reaching
  • Weber's law

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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