Action Rules: Why the Visual Control of Reaching and Grasping is Not Always Influenced by Perceptual Illusions Conference Paper uri icon


  • It is generally accepted that vision first evolved for the distal control of movement and that perception or 'representational' vision emerged much later. Vision-for-action operates in real time and uses egocentric frames of reference and the real metrics of the world. Vision-for-perception can operate over longer time scales and is much more scene-based in its computations. These differences in the timing and metrics of the two systems have been examined in experiments that have looked at the way in which each system deals with visual illusions. Although controversial, the consensus is that actions such as grasping and reaching are often unaffected by high-level pictorial illusions, which by definition affect percetion. However, recent experiments have shown that, for actions to escape the effects of such illusions, they must be highly practiced actions, preferably with the right hand, and must be directed in real time at visible targets. This latter finding suggests that some of the critical components of the encapsulated (bottom-up) systems that mediate the visual control of skilled reaching and grasping movements are lateralised to the left hemisphere.

publication date

  • March 2008