Eye-hand coordination during object manipulation

Although vision is obviously critical in many manual actions, little research has been carried out on how eye and hand movements are coordinated in natural tasks involving object manipulation. In the Cognition & Action Lab we are interested in understanding how vision and eye movements support the planning and control of hand movements.

The following video clip shows an individual's gaze (white cross) when they perform a manipulation task in which they are required to grasp a bar, move it around an obstacle to contact a target switch, and then replace the bar. The second part of the clip shows a computer reconstruction showing the positions of gaze (diamond) and the fingertip (circle).

As illustrated by the clip, gaze is directed towards key spatial reference points important for action. These include the grasp point, the tip of the bar, the obstacle, the target, and the landing surface. Gaze leads the hand to these points but tends to exit at about the same time as the hand (or object in hand).

For more information see: Johansson RS, Westling G, Bäckström A, Flanagan JR (2001) Eye-hand coordination in object manipulation Journal of Neuroscience 21: 6917-6932.