A Survey of the Types of So-called Eye-hand Coordination with the Aim of Describing the Kinds of Optical Feedback that Control the Kinds of Manipulation

January 1968

A Survey of the Types of So-called Eye-hand Coordination with the Aim of Describing
the Kinds of Optical Feedback that Control the Kinds of Manipulation

J. J. Gibson, Cornell University

The World Wide Web distribution of James Gibson’s “Purple Perils” is for scholarly use with the understanding that Gibson did not intend them for publication. References to these essays must cite them explicitly as unpublished manuscripts. Copies may be circulated if this statement is included on each copy.

The kinds of visual guidance or visual “proprioception” (Senses, Ch. 2) are not yet clear. There are ideas about the visual control of purposive locomotion, but what do we know about the visual control of purposive manipulation? The primates are characterized by the specialty of watching the hands. Just what can they do when the hands are monitored by the optical transitions and transformations obtained by “moving” the hands?

Ultimately, we want to understand the special activity of human trace-making, which begins with scribbling and develops into drawing and other graphic arts, and ends with letter-making of various forms, i.e., in literacy. (Consider the plastic act.)

A search of the literature might start with the following tentative types.

(1) Reaching

The work of White & Held on reaching by infants (MIT)

The work of Hein and others on visual deprivation and reaching performance (monkeys)

The old work of Gesell and of Halverson on infant reaching (cf. Munn for references)

Note that a relation between reaching and grasping is involved. (Taylor has a theory of this.)

(2) Pointing

The relation between visually unaccompanied pointing and visually accompanied pointing has been studied in the prism-displacement experiments (Harris, Hay, & Pick, etc.). But what is known aboutpointing to, as a sign?

(3) Stick-using, including raking-in

Köhler’s original work with chimps

Klüver (Behavior mechanisms in monkeys

(4) Inserting or fitting together

Köhler’s experiment. What else?

(5) Piling up

Köhler’s apes (box-piling)

Block piling by infants (Stanford-Binet test for three year olds)

(6) String-pulling

Primates (Klüver)

(7) Taking apart

Harlow’s work with monkeys and mechanical puzzles (Ruger)

(8) Covering up and uncovering

What is known? This is the occlusion-transformation as controlled by the hands.

(9) Throwing at

What is known? The feedback is “zooming”, i.e., centered optical minification.

(10) Catching (as distinguished from dodging)

How does it develop? The guidance or control is Schiff’s “looming”; but note that it is not a feedback from action.

Most of these are what the Russians (and Piaget) call “practical activities” that are supposed to be fundamental for perception and cognition. (But see, What gives rise to the perception of motion? page 15.)

Partial Bibliography of Visual Proprioception and related subjects

Baker & Young, Feedback during training and retention of motor skills. Canad. J. Psychol., 1960, 14, 257-64.

Fisher, G. H. (Ed.), The spatial senses. Dept. Psychol., King’s College, Newcastle upon Tyne, Res. Bull, 1964, No. 1.

—–, Development of features of behavior and perception: Visual and tactual-kinaesthetic shape perception. Brit. J. Educ. Psychol,, 1965, 35, 69-78.

Gesell & Bullis, Vision: Its development in infant and child, 1949.

Gesell & Halverson, Development of thumb opposition in human infants. J. Genet. Psychol., 1936, 48, 339-61.

Halverson, H. M., Studies of the grasping reflex of early infancy. J. Genet. Psychol., 1937, 51,371-449.

—–, An experimental study of prehension in infants by means of systematic cinema records. Genet. Psychol. Monogr., 1931, 10, 107-286.

Hay & Pick, Visual & proprioceptive adaptation to optical displacement of visual stimulus. J. Exp. Psycholo., 1966, 71, 150-58.

—–, Adaptation of prismatic distortion. Psychon. Sci., 1964, 1, 199-200.

Harris, C. S. Adaptation to displaced vision: Visual, motor, or proprioceptive change? Science, 1963, 140, 812-13.

Held & Gottlieb, Technique for studying adaptation to disarranged hand-eye coordination. Percept. Mot. Skills, 1958, 8, 83-86.

Held & Freedman, Plasticity in human sensorimotor control. Science, 1963, 142, 455-62.

Held & Bossom, Neonatal deprivation and adult rearrangement, J. Comp. Physiol., 142, 455-62.

Held & Schlank, Adaptation to optically-increased distance of hand from eye by reafferent stimulation, AJP, 1959, 72, 603-05.

Held & Hein, Movement-produced stimulation in the development of visually-guided behavior. J. Comp. Physiol. Psychol., 1963, 56, 872-76.

—–, Adaptation of disarranged hand-eye coordination contingent upon reafferent stimulation, AJP, 1959, 72, 603-05.

—–, A neural model for labile sensori-motor coordinations, In Bernard & Kare (Eds.), Biological Prototypes and Synthesis Systems, Vol. I, 1962.

Held, Exposure history as a factor in maintaining stability of perception and coordination, J. Nerv. Ment, Dis., 1961, 132, 26-32.

Howard, Craske, & Templeton, Visuomotor adaptation to discordant exafferent stimulation. J. Exp. Psychol., 1965, 70, 189-91.

Page, E., Haptic perception: A consideration of the investigations of Piaget and Inhelder. Educ. Rev., II, 1959, 115-124.

Pick, Pick & Thomas, A developmental study of tactual discrimination in blind and sighted children and adults. Psychon. Sci., 1966, 6, 367-68.

Pick, Pick & Klein, Visual and tactual identification of form orientation, J. Exp. Child Psychol., 1966, 4, 391-97.

—–, Perceptual integration in children. In Advances in Child Development, Vol. 3, 1967.

Renshaw, S., The errors of localization and effect of practice on the localizing movements in children and adults. J. Genet. Psychol., 1930, 38, 223-228.

Rock & Victor, Vision and touch: An experimentally-created conflict between the two senses. Science, 1964, 143, 594-96.

Smith, K. U. & Greene, A critical period in the maturation of performance with space-displaced vision. Percept. Mot. Skills, 1963, 627-29.

White, Castle, & Held, Observations on the development of visually-directed reaching. Child Developm., 1964, 35, 349-64.