Campanella, F., Sandini, G. & Morrone, M. C. (2010).

Visual information gleaned by observing grasping movement in allocentric and egocentric perspectives,Proc Biol Sci, 1715 (278), 2142-2149.

One of the major functions of vision is to allow for an efficient and active interaction with the environment. In this study, we investigate the capacity of human observers to extract visual information from observation of their own actions, and those of others, from different viewpoints. Subjects discriminated the size of objects by observing a point-light movie of a hand reaching for an invisible object. We recorded real reach-and-grasp actions in three-dimensional space towards objects of different shape and size, to produce two-dimensional ‘point-light display’ movies, which were used to measure size discrimination for reach-and-grasp motion sequences, release-and-withdraw sequences and still frames, all in egocentric and allocentric perspectives. Visual size discrimination from action was significantly better in egocentric than in allocentric view, but only for reach-and-grasp motion sequences: release-and-withdraw sequences or still frames derived no advantage from egocentric viewing. The results suggest that the system may have access to an internal model of action that contributes to calibrate visual sense of size for an accurate grasp.