Effects of multiple planning constraints on the development of grasp posture planning in 6- to 10-year-old children.
The present experiment examined the influence of final target position on grasp posture planning during a three-segment object manipulation task in which the required object orientation at the first target position was unconstrained. Participants grasped a cylindrical object from a home position, placed it at an intermediate position in a freely chosen orientation, and subsequently placed it at one of four final target positions. Considerable inter-individual differences in initial grasp selection were observed which also led to differences in final grasp postures. Whereas some participants strongly adjusted their initial grasp postures to the final target orientation, and thus showed a preference for end-state comfort, other participants showed virtually no adjustment in initial grasp postures, hence satisfying initial-state comfort. Interestingly, as intermediate grasp postures were similar regardless of initial grasp adjustment, intermediate-state comfort was prioritized by all participants. These results provide further evidence for the interaction of multiple action selection constraints in grasp posture planning during multi-segment object manipulation tasks. Whereas some constraints may take strict precedence in a given task, other constraints may be more flexible and weighted differently among participants. This differentiated weighting leads to task- and subject-specific constraint hierarchies and is reflected in inter-individual differences in grasp selection.