An investigation of the distorted characteristics of hand representation

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Coelho, Lara A.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Kinesiology and Physical Education
The internal perception of the hands has been found to be distorted. These distortions feature hand width that is overestimated and finger length that is underestimated. The purpose of this thesis was to explore the conditions in which hand perception is distorted. Two experiments were based on two hypotheses: 1) hand perception resembles its anatomical dimensions when perceived holistically; and 2) part of the distortion is as a result of different sensory modalities interfering with one another. The results confirmed the distorted characteristics, and both experiments had one group of participants that performed significantly more accurately. When participants pointed to their fingers in succession (experiment 1), the distortion was significantly reduced. In experiment 2, participants had better perception when using haptics but were more distorted when using vision or vision and haptics. This suggests that vision but not haptics interferes with having an anatomically accurate perception.  
hands , perception , somatosensory