Philosophy, Psychology and Neuroscience

Errors, Expectations, Perception, & Action

In most circumstances, individuals are able to make relatively accurate predictions about how heavy an object will be, even if they have never lifted it before. These expectations of how heavy an object is likely to be have dramatic effects on both how the object is lifted and how heavy it feels to the lifter. In the context of weight illusions, I will first outline the experiments showing how lifters' expectations of heaviness can reliably and persistently affect our perception of how heavy an object feels. I will then describe how the error detection and correction processes which allow us to rapidly adapt our fingertip forces to an object's veridical mass rely heavily upon vision. Finally, I will examine possible ways to utilize action observation and enhanced visual feedback to supplement normal motor learning processes in experimental object lifting tasks and virtual reality surgical training.