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Typically, when a grasping response is made, the hand opens wider than the target object. We show that this "over-grasp" response is reduced when we reach to parts of our own face, relative to when we reach to other body parts or to neutral objects. This is not due to reaching to different parts of body space, as over-grasp responses are indifferent to whether or not other body parts or neutral objects are placed close to the face. It is also not due to differences in perceptual knowledge of the size of the target object. We conclude instead that the familiarity of face parts influences the grasping response directly. Subsequent experiments demonstrate that the movement representation determining any effect is not based on a torso-centred frame, and not abstracted from the specific hand used for grasping. We discuss the implications of the results for understanding and measuring motor representations for familiar actions.

Original publication




Journal article


Exp Brain Res

Publication Date





72 - 80


Adolescent, Adult, Hand Strength, Humans, Nose, Photic Stimulation, Recognition, Psychology, Space Perception, Thumb, Vision, Ocular, Visual Perception