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BY-NC-ND 3.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access November 7, 2014

A touchy subject: advancing the modulated visual pathways account of altered vision near the hand

  • J. Eric T. Taylor , Davood G. Gozli , David Chan , Greg Huffman and Jay Pratt


A growing body of evidence demonstrates that human vision operates differently in the space near and on the hands; for example, early findings in this literature reported that rapid onsets are detected faster near the hands, and that objects are searched more thoroughly. These and many other effects were attributed to enhanced attention via the recruitment of bimodal visual-tactile neurons representing the hand and near-hand space. However, recent research supports an alternative account: stimuli near the hands are preferentially processed by the action-oriented magnocellular visual pathway at the expense of processing in the parvocellular pathway. This Modulated Visual Pathways (MVP) account of altered vision near the hands describes a hand position-dependent trade-off between the two main retinal-cortical visual pathways between the eye and brain. The MVP account explains past findings and makes new predictions regarding near-hand vision supported by new research.


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Received: 2014-09-18
Accepted: 2014-09-29
Published Online: 2014-11-07
Published in Print: 2015-01-01

© 2015 J Eric T Taylor et al.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.

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