Location of hands influence what we see

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Washington, Jul 12 (UNI) Better understanding of things lies in one's own hands, literally.

Humans are able to inspect and understand objects more thoroughly when their hands are near it rather that farther, a study revealed.

A reflexive, non-conscious difference in information processing exists due to the influence of location of hands with respect to the object, psychologists at Washington University observed.

According to them, humans need to be able to analyse objects near their hands to figure out how to handle them or to provide protection against them.

''Being able to have both hands on the wheel might enhance a driver's perception of the wheel and the nearby instruments,'' lead researcher Richard A Abrams suggested.

''If the car is perceived to be a type of extension of the wheel, then having both hands on the wheel might enhance the driver's perception of its location and of objects near it. So it is quite possible that there could be an unexpected benefit of having both hands on the wheel,'' he said.

The researchers asked the participants to search for the letters 'S' or 'H' among groups of letters displayed on a computer monitor.

When they found the letter, they responded by pressing one of two buttons, located either on the sides of the monitor or on their laps.

It was found that the search rate of the participants was slower when their hands were on the side of the monitor than on their laps, meaning that they were slower to turn their attention from one item to the next.

The study, published in the journal Cognition, interpreted the results to mean that there was an inherent mechanism in the human brain that didn't easily allow us to move our attention, or "mind's eye," from one object to the next when the objects were near our hands.

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