Attenuation of size illusion effect in dual-task conditions.Hum Mov Sci. 2019 Oct; 67:102497.HM
We over-estimate or under-estimate the size of an object depending its background structure (e.g., the Ebbinghaus illusion). Since deciding and preparing to execute a movement is based on perception, motor performance deteriorates due to the faulty perception of information. Therefore, such cognitive process can be a source of a failure in motor performance, although we feel in control of our performance through conscious cognitive activities. If a movement execution process can avoid distraction by the illusion-deceived conscious process, the effect of the visual illusion on visuomotor performance can be eliminated or attenuated. This study investigated this hypothesis by examining two task performances developed for a target figure inducing the Ebbinghaus size illusion: showing visually perceived size of an object by index finger-thumb aperture (size-matching), and reaching out for the object and pretending to grasp it (pantomimed grasping). In these task performances, the size of the index finger-thumb aperture becomes larger or smaller than the actual size, in accordance with the illusion effect. This study examined whether the size illusion effect can be weakened or eliminated by the dual-task condition where actors' attention to judge the object's size and to produce the aperture size is interrupted. 16 participants performed the size-matching and pantomimed grasping tasks while simultaneously executing a choice reaction task (dual task) or without doing so (single task). Using an optical motion capture system, the size-illusion effect was analyzed in terms of the aperture size, which indicates the visually perceived object size. The illusion effect was attenuated in the dual task condition, compared to it in the single task condition. This suggests that the dual task condition modulated attention focus on the aperture movement and therefore the aperture movement was achieved with less distraction caused by illusory information.