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    Reducing Grip Uncertainty During Initial Prosthetic Hand Use Improves Eye-Hand Coordination and Lowers Mental Workload

    Mohamed, MO ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4812-469X, Wood, G ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0851-7090, Wright, DJ ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9568-0237 and Parr, JVV ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3096-2601 (2024) Reducing Grip Uncertainty During Initial Prosthetic Hand Use Improves Eye-Hand Coordination and Lowers Mental Workload. Journal of Motor Behavior. pp. 1-11. ISSN 0022-2895

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    The reliance on vision to control a myoelectric prosthesis is cognitively burdensome and contributes to device abandonment. The feeling of uncertainty when gripping an object is thought to be the cause of this overreliance on vision in hand-related actions. We explored if experimentally reducing grip uncertainty alters the visuomotor control and mental workload experienced during initial prosthesis use. In a repeated measures design, twenty-one able-bodied participants took part in a pouring task across three conditions: (a) using their anatomical hand, (b) using a myoelectric prosthetic hand simulator, and (c) using a myoelectric prosthetic hand simulator with Velcro attached to reduce grip uncertainty. Performance, gaze behaviour (using mobile eye-tracking) and self-reported mental workload, was measured. Results showed that using a prosthesis (with or without Velcro) slowed task performance, impaired typical eye-hand coordination and increased mental workload compared to anatomic hand control. However, when using the prosthesis with Velcro, participants displayed better prosthesis control, more effective eye-hand coordination and reduced mental workload compared to when using the prosthesis without Velcro. These positive results indicate that reducing grip uncertainty could be a useful tool for encouraging more effective prosthesis control strategies in the early stages of prosthetic hand learning.

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