Conceptual Biases Explain Distortion Differences Between Hand and Objects in Localization Tasks

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Recent studies have shown the presence of distortions in proprioceptive hand localization tasks. Those results were interpreted as reflecting specific perceptual distortions bound to a body model. It was especially suggested that hand distortions could be related to distortions of somatotopic cortical maps. In this study, we show that hand distortions measured in localization tasks might be partly driven by a general false belief about hand landmark locations (conceptual biases). We especially demonstrate that hand and object distortions are present in similar magnitude when correcting for the conceptual bias of the knuckles (Experiment 1) or when asking participants to directly locate spatially well-represented landmarks (i.e., without conceptual biases) on their hand (Experiment 2). Altogether our results suggest that localization task distortions are nonspecific to the body and that similar perceptual distortions could underlie localization performance measured on objects and hands.

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