Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Coordination between the transport and the grasp components during prehension movements

  • 242 Accesses

  • 83 Citations


In this study, the possible influence of the transport on the grasp component of prehension movements was investigated. The first phase of the transport (acceleration phase) and of the grasp (finger aperture phase) kinematics were studied under conditions of visual and non-visual object presentation (prehension experiment). In the non-visual condition, object size was estimated by haptics and object position was estimated by proprioception. Eight subjects were required to reach and grasp three objects of different size located at two distances. An additional experiment (matching experiment) was carried out to control the scaling of object size in the two conditions. The results showed that in the matching experiment size estimation for large objects was similar in the two conditions, whereas small stimuli were underestimated in the haptic condition. In the prehension experiment, maximal finger aperture and velocity of finger aperture were greater in the non-visual than in the visual condition, and the difference was greater for small than for large stimuli. Moreover, in both conditions, finger opening was larger for prehension movements directed to the far than to the near objects, but only for smaller stimuli. Hand trajectory variability increased in the non-visual condition and with the distance, whereas finger opening variability was only affected by the non-visual condition. For smaller stimuli, increased finger opening with distance was positively correlated with the increase in wrist variability in the visual condition, but not in the non-visual condition. Furthermore, increased finger opening between visual and non-visual conditions was correlated with the increase in wrist variability, for smaller objects at the near object location. No positive correlations were found between finger opening and grip variability. These results are interpreted in favour of the dependence of finger opening on transport, when control requirements during reaching increase.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Arbib MA (1981) Perceptual structures and distributed motor control. In: Brooks VB (ed) Handbook of physiology, sect 1, vol 2, part 2. William and Wilkins, Baltimore, pp 1449–1480

  2. Chan T, Carello C, Turvey MT (1990) Perceiving object width by grasping. Ecol Psychol 2:1–35

  3. Chieffi S, Fogassi L, Gallese V, Gentilucci M (1992) Prehension movements directed to approaching objects: influence of stimulus velocity on the transport and the grasp components. Neuropsychologia 30:877–897

  4. Corradini ML, Gentilucci M, Leo T, Rizzolatti G (1992) Motor control of voluntary arm movements: kinematic and modelling study. Biol Cybern 67:347–360

  5. Gentilucci M, Castiello U, Corradini ML, Scarpa M, Umilta' C, Rizzolatti G (1991) Influence of different types of grasping on the transport component of prehension movements. Neuropsychologia 29:361–378

  6. Gentilucci M, Chieffi S, Scarpa M, Castiello U (1992) Temporal coupling between transport and grasp components during prehension movements: effects of visual perturbation. Behav Brain Res 47:71–82

  7. Goodale MA, Pellisson D, Prablanc C (1986) Large adjustments in visually guided reaching do not depend on vision of the hand or perception of target displacement. Nature 320:748–750

  8. Jakobson LS, Goodale MA (1991) Factors affecting higher-order movement planning: a kinematic analysis of human prehension. Exp Brain Res 86:199–208

  9. Jeannerod M (1984) The timing of natural prehension movements. J Mot Behav 16:235–254

  10. Jeannerod M (1988) The neural and behavioural organization of goal-directed movements. Clarendon Press, Oxford

  11. Paulignan Y, MacKenzie C, Marteniuk R, Jeannerod M (1991) Selective perturbation of visual input during prehension movements. 1. The effects of changing object position. Exp Brain Res 83:502–512

  12. Schmidt RA, Zelaznik H, Hawkins B, Frank JS, Quinn JT (1979) Motor output variability: a theory for rapid motor acts. Psychol Rev 86:415–451

  13. Soechting JF, Flanders M (1989) Sensorimotor representations for pointing to targets in three-dimensional space. J Neurophysiol 62:582–594

  14. Stevens SS, Stone G (1959) Finger span: ratio scale, category scale, and jnd scale. J Exp Psychol 57:91–95

  15. Wallace SA, Weeks DL (1988) Temporal constraints in the control of prehensive movements. J Mot Behav 20:81–105

  16. Wing AM, Fraser C (1983) The contribution of the thumb to reaching movements. Q J Exp Psychol 35A: 297–309

  17. Wing AM, Turton A, Fraser C (1986) Grasp size and accuracy of approach in reaching. J Mot Behav 18:245–260

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Chieffi, S., Gentilucci, M. Coordination between the transport and the grasp components during prehension movements. Exp Brain Res 94, 471–477 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00230205

Download citation

Key words

  • Arm movements
  • Prehension
  • Transport
  • Grasp
  • Human