Drawing from memory: hand-eye coordination at multiple scales.

PloS one

PubMedID: 23554894

Huette S, Kello CT, Rhodes T, Spivey MJ. Drawing from memory: hand-eye coordination at multiple scales. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(3):e58464.
Eyes move to gather visual information for the purpose of guiding behavior. This guidance takes the form of perceptual-motor interactions on short timescales for behaviors like locomotion and hand-eye coordination. More complex behaviors require perceptual-motor interactions on longer timescales mediated by memory, such as navigation, or designing and building artifacts. In the present study, the task of sketching images of natural scenes from memory was used to examine and compare perceptual-motor interactions on shorter and longer timescales. Eye and pen trajectories were found to be coordinated in time on shorter timescales during drawing, and also on longer timescales spanning study and drawing periods. The latter type of coordination was found by developing a purely spatial analysis that yielded measures of similarity between images, eye trajectories, and pen trajectories. These results challenge the notion that coordination only unfolds on short timescales. Rather, the task of drawing from memory evokes perceptual-motor encodings of visual images that preserve coarse-grained spatial information over relatively long timescales as well.