When Flavor Guides Motor Control an Effector Independence Study


Research on multisensory integration during natural tasks has revealed how chemical senses contribute to plan and control movements. An aspect which has yet to be investigated regards whether the motor representations evoked by chemosensory stimuli, once established for a particular movement, can be used to control different effectors. Here, we investigate this issue by asking participants to drink a sip of flavored solution, grasp with the hand a visual target, and then bring it to the mouth, miming the action of biting. Results show that hand and lip apertures were scaled according to the size of the object evoked by the flavor. Maximum hand and lip apertures were greater when the action toward a small visual target (e.g., strawberry) was preceded by a sip of a ‘‘large’’ (e.g., orange) than a ‘‘small’’ (e.g., almond) flavor solution. Conversely, maximum hand and lip apertures were smaller when the action toward a large visual target (e.g., apple) was preceded by the presentation of a ‘‘small’’ (e.g., strawberry) rather than a ‘‘large’’ flavor solution. These findings support previous evidence on the presence of a unique motor plan underlying the act of grasping with-the-hand and with-the-mouth, extending the knowledge of chemosensorimotor transformations to motor equivalence.

Experimental Brain Research, 212, 339–346
Valentina Parma
Valentina Parma
Research Assistant Professor in Psychology