The spatial alignment effect in near and far space: A kinematic study

Elisa De Stefani, Alessandro Innocenti, Doriana De Marco, Marianna Busiello, Francesca Ferri, Marcello Costantini, Maurizio Gentilucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present experiment aimed at verifying whether the spatial alignment effect modifies kinematic parameters of pantomimed reaching-grasping of cups located at reachable and not reachable distance. The cup's handle could be oriented either to the right or to the left, thus inducing a grasp movement that could be either congruent or incongruent with the pantomime. The incongruence/congruence induced an increase/decrease in maximal finger aperture, which was observed when the cup was located near but not far from the body. This effect probably depended on influence of the size of the cup body on pantomime control when, in the incongruent condition, cup body was closer to the grasp hand as compared to the handle. Cup distance (near and far) influenced the pantomime even if it was actually executed in the same peripersonal space. Specifically, arm and hand temporal parameters were affected by actual cup distance as well as movement amplitudes. The results indicate that, when executing a reach-to-grasp pantomime, affordance related to the use of the object was instantiated (and in particular the spatial alignment effect became effective), but only when the object could be actually reached. Cup distance (extrinsic object property) influenced affordance, independently of the possibility to actually reach the target.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2431-2438
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Functional affordance
  • Grasp pantomime
  • Human kinematics
  • Intrinsic and extrinsic object properties
  • Spatial alignment effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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