Reducing the motor response in haptic parallel matching eliminates the typically observed gender difference

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Abstract

When making two bars haptically parallel to each other, large deviations have been observed, most likely caused by the bias of a hand-centered egocentric reference frame. A consistent finding is that women show significantly larger deviations than men when performing this task. It has been suggested that this difference might be due to the fact that women are more egocentrically oriented than men or are less efficient in overcoming the egocentric bias of the hand. If this is indeed the case, reducing the bias of the egocentric reference frame should eliminate the above-mentioned gender difference. This was investigated in the current study. Sixty participants (30 men, 30 women) were instructed to haptically match (task HP) the orientation of a test bar with the dominant hand to the orientation of a reference bar that was perceived with the non-dominant hand. In a haptic visual task (task HV), in which only the reference bar and exploring hand were out of view, no motor response was required, but participants had to "match" the perceived orientation by verbally naming the parallel orientation that was read out on a test protractor. Both females and males performed better in the HV task than in the HP task. Significant gender effects were only found in the haptic parallelity task (HP), corroborating the idea that women perform at the same level as men when the egocentric bias of the hand is reduced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume234
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

Keywords

  • Haptic perception
  • Egocentric
  • Allocentric
  • Gender
  • Frame of reference
  • Parallelity
  • LARGE SYSTEMATIC DEVIATIONS
  • EGOCENTRIC REFERENCE FRAMES
  • HAND ORIENTATION
  • SPATIAL PERCEPTION
  • SPACE
  • TASK
  • VISION
  • PLANE
  • DELAY

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