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Representing spatial location and layout from sparse kinesthetic contacts.
Participants' fingers were guided to 2 locations on a table for 3 s, then back to the start. They reported distances and angles between the locations by (a) replacing 1 or 2 fingers, (b) translating the contacted configuration, or (c) estimating distance or angle alone. Distance error increased across these conditions. Angular error increased when the angular reference axis was rotated before the response. Replacing 1 finger was impaired by a change in posture from exposure to test. The results suggest a kinesthetic representation is used to replace the fingers, but to estimate distance and angle at new locations, a configural representation is computed. This presentation is oriented within an extrinsic reference frame and maintains shape more accurately than scale.