Telling the Right Hand From the Left Hand: Multisensory Integration, Not Motor Imagery, Solves the Problem

  • Viswanathan S
  • Fritz C
  • Grafton S
  • 68


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 12


    Citations of this article.


Judging the laterality of a hand seen at unanticipated orientations evokes a robust feeling of bodily movement, even though no movement is produced. In two experiments, we tested a novel hypothesis to explain this phenomenon: A hand's laterality is determined via a multisensory binding of the visual representation of the seen hand and a proprioceptive representation of the observer's felt hand, and the felt "movement" is an obligatory aftereffect of intersensory recalibration. Consistent with the predictions implied by such a cross-modal mechanism, our results in Experiment 1 showed that manipulating observers' selective attention can evoke illusory feelings of movement in the "wrong" hand (i.e., the hand whose laterality does not match that of the stimulus). In Experiment 2, these illusions were readily extinguished in conditions in which binding was predicted to fail, a result indicating that cross-modal binding was necessary to produce them. These results are not explained by imagery, a mechanism widely assumed to account for how hand laterality is identified.

Author-supplied keywords

  • decision making
  • human body
  • motor processes
  • perception

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free