Pantomime-Grasping: Advance Knowledge of Haptic Feedback Availability Supports an Absolute Visuo-Haptic Calibration
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
An emerging issue in movement neurosciences is whether haptic feedback influences the nature of the information supporting a simulated grasping response (i.e., pantomime-grasping). In particular, recent work by our group contrasted pantomimegrasping responses performed with (i.e., PH+ trials) and without (i.e., PH− trials) terminal haptic feedback in separate blocks of trials. Results showed that PH− trials were mediated via relative visual information. In contrast, PH+ trials showed evidence
... an absolute visuo-haptic calibration-a finding attributed to an error signal derived from a comparison between expected and actual haptic feedback (i.e., an internal forward model). The present study examined whether advanced knowledge of haptic feedback availability influences the aforementioned calibration process. To that end, PH− and PH+ trials were completed in separate blocks (i.e., the feedback schedule used in our group's previous study) and a block wherein PH− and PH+ trials were randomly interleaved on a trial-by-trial basis (i.e., random feedback schedule). In other words, the random feedback schedule precluded participants from predicting whether haptic feedback would be available at the movement goal location. We computed just-noticeable-difference (JND) values to determine whether responses adhered to, or violated, the relative psychophysical principles of Weber's law. Results for the blocked feedback schedule replicated our group's previous work, whereas in the random feedback schedule PH− and PH+ trials were supported via relative visual information. Accordingly, we propose that a priori knowledge of haptic feedback is necessary to support an absolute visuo-haptic calibration. Moreover, our results demonstrate that the presence and expectancy of haptic feedback is an important consideration in contrasting the behavioral and neural properties of natural and simulated grasping.