Visual illusions, delayed grasping, and memory: no shift from dorsal to ventral control

V. H. Franz, C. Hesse, S. Kollath

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91 Citations (Scopus)


We tested whether a delay between stimulus presentation and grasping leads to a shift from dorsal to ventral control of the movement, as suggested by the perception-action theory of Milner and Goodale (Milner, A.D., & Goodale, M.A. (1995). The visual brain in action. Oxford: Oxford University Press.). In this theory the dorsal cortical stream has a short memory, such that after a few seconds the dorsal information is decayed and the action is guided by the ventral stream. Accordingly, grasping should become responsive to certain visual illusions after a delay (because only the ventral stream is assumed to be deceived by these illusions). We used the Müller-Lyer illusion, the typical illusion in this area of research, and replicated the increase of the motor illusion after a delay. However, we found that this increase is not due to memory demands but to the availability of visual feedback during movement execution which leads to online corrections of the movement. Because such online corrections are to be expected if the movement is guided by one single representation of object size, we conclude that there is no evidence for a shift from dorsal to ventral control in delayed grasping of the Müller-Lyer illusion. We also performed the first empirical test of a critique Goodale (Goodale, M.A. (2006, October 27). Visual duplicity: Action without perception in the human visual system. The XIV. Kanizsa lecture, Triest, Italy.) raised against studies finding illusion effects in grasping: Goodale argued that these studies used methods that lead to unnatural grasping which is guided by the ventral stream. Therefore, these studies might never have measured the dorsal stream, but always the ventral stream. We found clear evidence against this conjecture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1518-1531
Number of pages14
Issue number6
Early online date11 Sept 2008
Publication statusPublished - May 2009


  • todo
  • perception
  • action
  • Muller-Lyer
  • dorsal
  • ventral


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