Matching locations is not just matching sensory representations

Irene A. Kuling, Marieke C.W. van der Graaff, Eli Brenner, Jeroen B.J. Smeets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


People make systematic errors when matching locations of an unseen index finger with the index finger of the other hand, or with a visual target. In this study, we present two experiments that test the consistency of such matching errors across different combinations of matching methods. In the first experiment, subjects had to move their unseen index fingers to visually presented targets. We examined the consistency between matching errors for the two hands and for different postures (hand above a board or below it). We found very little consistency: The matching error depends on the posture and differs between the hands. In the second experiment, we designed sets of tasks that involved the same matching configurations. For example, we compared matching errors when moving with the unseen index finger to a visual target, with errors when moving a visual target to the unseen index finger. We found that matching errors are not invertible. Furthermore, moving both index fingers to the same visual target results in a different mismatch between the hands than directly matching the two index fingers. We conclude that the errors that we make when matching locations cannot only arise from systematic mismatches between sensory representations of the positions of the fingers and of visually perceived space. We discuss how these results can be interpreted in terms of sensory transformations that depend on the movement that needs to be made.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-545
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Haptics
  • Proprioception
  • Proprioceptive position sense
  • Sensory matching
  • Visual localization


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