Mar 302012

The manipulation of objects is dependent on several factors such as the object’s shape and conceptual knowledge about its use. There are different types of grasps that are made when an object is picked up as opposed to when the object is used (ex: the grasps when a cell phone is picked up is distinct from the grasp made when a cell phone is used to text). These grasps are called volumetric grasps (used to pick an object up) and functional grasps (for use of the object). There has been much debate regarding whether volumetric grasps stem from learned representations of the objects or whether they are made from an on the fly computation by the motor system. My research uses novel objects that people have never had experience grasping in order to approach this question. Ultimately, we will manipulate the amount and type of experience participants receive with these novel objects (visual, physical grasping of the objects, verbal description) in conjunction with fMRI in order to ascertain whether the dorsal or ventral streams are activated for motor representations that have been learned.

Kao’s CV