Science Daily reports on research by researchers at Washington University (St. Louis, MO):
[The study by Abrams et. al.] demonstrates that humans more thoroughly inspect objects when their hands are near the object rather than farther away from it. This reflexive, non-conscious difference in information processing exists, they posit, because humans need to be able to analyze objects near their hands, to figure out how to handle the objects or to provide protection against them.
Recognizing that the location of your hands influences what you see is a new insight into the wiring of the brain, one that could lead to rethinking current rehabilitative therapy techniques and prosthetic design.
For a stroke victim trying to regain use of a paralyzed hand, just placing the good hand next to the desired object could help the injured hand grasp it.
Likewise, prosthetics could be redesigned to include additional information flow from the hand to the brain, rather than just the brain controlling the spatial location of the prosthetic, as with today’s artificial limb technology.
The findings also may lend scientific support for recently enacted California legislation barring the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.