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Does thumb posture influence the mental rotation of hands?


Bläsing, B; Brugger, P; Weigelt, M; Schack, T (2013). Does thumb posture influence the mental rotation of hands? Neuroscience Letters, 534(8):139-144.

Abstract

The function of thumb posture in mental rotation has not yet been studied intensely, despite its special role in manual action. To investigate if thumb posture modifies relative visual and proprioceptive contributions, we conducted two experiments comprising hand laterality judgement tasks with identical stimuli (left and right hands in palmar and dorsal views presented at four orientations). In half of the stimuli, all digits were extended, whereas in the other half the thumb was flexed into the palm of the hand. In the second experiment, participants' thumbs were taped in the same flexed posture that was displayed in half of the stimuli one hour previous to and throughout the experiment. Results of both experiments revealed effects of orientation, side and view on reaction time, but an effect of stimulus thumb posture occurred only in the second experiment in which participants' thumbs were fixed. In palmar view, stimuli rotated by 90° with fingers pointing toward the participant's midline had shorter reaction times than stimuli rotated (evidentially less comfortably) in the opposite direction. This finding suggests that participants applied motor imagery strategies for palmar but not for dorsal views of the hand, indicating a difference in visual and sensorimotor familiarity.

The function of thumb posture in mental rotation has not yet been studied intensely, despite its special role in manual action. To investigate if thumb posture modifies relative visual and proprioceptive contributions, we conducted two experiments comprising hand laterality judgement tasks with identical stimuli (left and right hands in palmar and dorsal views presented at four orientations). In half of the stimuli, all digits were extended, whereas in the other half the thumb was flexed into the palm of the hand. In the second experiment, participants' thumbs were taped in the same flexed posture that was displayed in half of the stimuli one hour previous to and throughout the experiment. Results of both experiments revealed effects of orientation, side and view on reaction time, but an effect of stimulus thumb posture occurred only in the second experiment in which participants' thumbs were fixed. In palmar view, stimuli rotated by 90° with fingers pointing toward the participant's midline had shorter reaction times than stimuli rotated (evidentially less comfortably) in the opposite direction. This finding suggests that participants applied motor imagery strategies for palmar but not for dorsal views of the hand, indicating a difference in visual and sensorimotor familiarity.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:07 Feb 2013 12:46
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:11
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0304-3940
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2012.11.034
PubMed ID:23201629
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-68370

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