Visual Feedback of Object Motion Direction Influences the Timing of Grip Force Modulation During Object Manipulation

Simone Toma, Veronica Caputo, Marco Santello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


During manipulation, object slipping is prevented by modulating the grip force (GF) in synchrony with motion-related inertial forces, i.e., load force (LF). However, due to conduction delays of the sensory system, GF must be modulated in advance based on predictions of LF changes. It has been proposed that such predictive force control relies on internal representations, i.e., internal models, of the relation between the dynamic of the environment and movement kinematics. Somatosensory and visual feedback plays a primary role in building these internal representations. For instance, it has been shown that manipulation-dependent somatosensory signals contribute to building internal representations of gravity in normal and altered gravitational contexts. Furthermore, delaying the timing of visual feedback of object displacement has been shown to affect GF. Here, we explored whether and the extent to which spatial features of visual feedback movement, such as motion direction, may contribute to GF control. If this were the case, a spatial mismatch between actual (somatosensory) and visual feedback of object motion would elicit changes in GF modulation. We tested this hypothesis by asking participants to generate vertical object movements while visual feedback of object position was congruent (0° rotation) or incongruent (180° or 90°) with the actual object displacement. The role of vision on GF control was quantified by the temporal shift of GF modulation as a function of visual feedback orientation and actual object motion direction. GF control was affected by visual feedback when this was incongruent in the vertical (180°), but not horizontal dimension. Importantly, 180° visual feedback rotation delayed and anticipated GF modulation during upward and downward actual movements, respectively. Our findings suggest that during manipulation, spatial features of visual feedback motion are used to predict upcoming LF changes. Furthermore, the present study provides evidence that an internal model of gravity contributes to GF control by influencing sensory reweighting processes during object manipulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number198
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
StatePublished - May 29 2020


  • digit forces
  • object manipulation
  • predictive grip force control
  • sensory integration
  • visual gravity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Visual Feedback of Object Motion Direction Influences the Timing of Grip Force Modulation During Object Manipulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this