Over the past 10 years, perception scientists have uncovered a surprising connection between people's vision and their hands. There is now compelling evidence that how people perceive, attend to, think about, and remember visual information depends on how close they have their hands to that information. With their hands near, people perform figure-ground assignment more efficiently, parse temporally adjacent events more precisely, and hold more information in visual working memory. Near their hands, people also detect sudden visual onsets more quickly, but search through arrays of items more slowly, and take longer to switch between different ways of interpreting the same perceptual content (e.g., “seeing the forest” vs. “seeing the trees”). These are but some of the ways in which visual processing changes when people's hands are in proximity of viewed information—a host of effects that we refer to here, collectively, as hand-altered vision (HAV).
- Journal Article