Revisiting the effect of visual illusions on grasping in left and right handers

Tzvi Ganel, Melvyn A. Goodale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Visual illusions have provided compelling evidence for a dissociation between perception and action. For example, when two different-sized objects are placed on opposite ends of the Ponzo illusion, people erroneously perceive the physically smaller object to be bigger than the physically larger one, but when they pick up the objects, their grip aperture reflects the real difference in size between the objects. This and similar findings have been demonstrated almost entirely for the right hand in right handers. The scarce research that has examined right and left-handed subjects in this context, has typically used only small samples. Here, we extended this research with a larger sample size (more than 50 in each group) in a version of the Ponzo illusion that allowed us to disentangle the effects of real and illusory size on action and perception in much more powerful way. We also collected a wide range of kinematic measures to assess possible differences in visuomotor control in left and right handers. The results showed that the dissociation between perception and action persisted for both hands in right handers, but only for the right hand in left handers. The left hand of left handers was sensitive to the illusion. Left handers also showed more variable and slower movements, as well as larger safety margins in both hands. These findings suggest that grasping in left handers may require more cognitive supervision, which could lead to greater sensitivity to visual context, particularly with their dominant left hand.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number108806
StatePublished - 12 Mar 2024


  • Grasping
  • Handedness
  • Perception and action
  • Visual illusions

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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