Motor commands in children interfere with their haptic perception of objects

Monica Gori, Valentina Squeri, Alessandra Sciutti, Lorenzo Masia, Giulio Sandini, Jürgen Konczak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Neural processes of sensory-motor- and motor-sensory integration link perception and action, forming the basis for human interaction with the environment. Haptic perception, the ability to extract object features through action, is based on these processes. To study the development of motor-sensory integration, children judged the curvature of virtual objects after exploring them actively or while guided passively by a robot. Haptic acuity reached adult levels only at early adolescence. Unlike in adults, haptic precision in children was consistently lower during active exploration when compared to passive motion. Thus, the exploratory movements themselves constitute a form of noise for the developing haptic system that younger brains cannot compensate until mid-adolescence. Computationally, this is consistent with a noisy efference copy mechanism producing imprecise predicted sensory feedback, which compromises haptic precision in children, while the mature mechanism aids the adult brain to account for the effect of self-generated motion on perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-157
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume223
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012

Keywords

  • Active perception
  • Forward models
  • Haptic
  • Human development
  • Passive perception

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