The Removal of Binocular Cues Disrupts the Calibration of Grasping in Patients with Visual Form Agnosia
journal contributionposted on 01.01.1997 by J. J. Marotta, Marlene Behrmann, M. A. Goodale
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The present study tested the idea that the visuomotor systems mediating prehension do not have independent access to pictorial cues processed by perceptual mechanisms. Individuals with visual form agnosia, whose perceptual systems are compromised but who have intact visuomotor control, were examined to determine whether they could use pictorial scene cues to calibrate manual prehension when binocular information was removed. The removal of binocular cues produced considerable disruptions in size-constancy of grip aperture, which, combined with earlier observations in normal subjects, suggests that binocular cues are of primary importance in calibration of grasping. In the absence of binocular vision, normal subjects can use pictorial information, information that is severely compromised in individuals with visual form agnosia, to compute the distance (and thus the size) of the goal object. Thus, individuals with visual form agnosia must rely on a retinal image that remains uncalibrated, leading to inaccurate calibrations of grip aperture. The fact that these individuals scaled their grasp much less accurately under the monocular viewing condition, despite showing normal binocular grasping, suggests that pictorial cues to depth, which are presumably processed by mechanisms mediating our perception of objects and events in the world, can be accessed by visuomotor mechanisms only indirectly. These results, together with others, suggest that the visuomotor system ‘prefers’ to use binocular information and uses pictorial cues only as a last resort.