Spatial bias in estimating the position of visual and proprioceptive targets

When people match an unseen hand to a visual or proprioceptive target, they make both variable and systematic (bias) errors. Variance is a well-established factor in behavior, but the origin and implications of bias, and its connection to variance, are poorly understood. Eighty healthy adults matched their unseen right index finger to proprioceptive (left index finger) and visual targets with no performance feedback. We asked whether matching bias was related to target modality and to the magnitude or spatial properties of matching variance. Bias errors were affected by target modality, with subjects estimating visual and proprioceptive targets 20 mm apart. We found three pieces of evidence to suggest a connection between bias and variable errors: 1) for most subjects, the target modality that yielded greater spatial bias was also estimated with greater variance; 2) magnitudes of matching bias and variance were somewhat correlated for each target modality (R = 0.24 and 0.29); and 3) bias direction was closely related to the angle of the major axis of the confidence ellipse (R = 0.60 and 0.63). However, whereas variance was significantly correlated with visuo-proprioceptive weighting as predicted by multisensory integration theory (R = −0.29 and 0.27 for visual and proprioceptive variance, respectively), bias was not. In a second session, subjects improved their matching variance, but not bias, for both target modalities, indicating a difference in stability. Taken together, these results suggest bias and variance are related only in some respects, which should be considered in the study of multisensory behavior.

Publication Date:
May 10 2018
Date Submitted:
Jul 10 2019
Journal of Neurophysiology

Note: The file is under embargo until: 2019-12-31

 Record created 2019-07-10, last modified 2019-07-11

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