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Journal Article


Wamain Y, Tallet J, Zanone PG, Longcamp M. PLoS One 2011; 6(1): e15995.


Laboratoire Adaptation Perceptivo-Motrice et Apprentissage, Université de Toulouse, Toulouse, France.


(Copyright © 2011, Public Library of Science)








BACKGROUND: In the continuum between a stroke and a circle including all possible ellipses, some eccentricities seem more "biologically preferred" than others by the motor system, probably because they imply less demanding coordination patterns. Based on the idea that biological motion perception relies on knowledge of the laws that govern the motor system, we investigated whether motorically preferential and non-preferential eccentricities are visually discriminated differently. In contrast with previous studies that were interested in the effect of kinematic/time features of movements on their visual perception, we focused on geometric/spatial features, and therefore used a static visual display. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In a dual-task paradigm, participants visually discriminated 13 static ellipses of various eccentricities while performing a finger-thumb opposition sequence with either the dominant or the non-dominant hand. Our assumption was that because the movements used to trace ellipses are strongly lateralized, a motor task performed with the dominant hand should affect the simultaneous visual discrimination more strongly. We found that visual discrimination was not affected when the motor task was performed by the non-dominant hand. Conversely, it was impaired when the motor task was performed with the dominant hand, but only for the ellipses that we defined as preferred by the motor system, based on an assessment of individual preferences during an independent graphomotor task. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Visual discrimination of ellipses depends on the state of the motor neural networks controlling the dominant hand, but only when their eccentricity is "biologically preferred". Importantly, this effect emerges on the basis of a static display, suggesting that what we call "biological geometry", i.e., geometric features resulting from preferential movements is relevant information for the visual processing of bidimensional shapes.

Language: en


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