Classical neurophysiological studies demonstrated that the monkey brain is equipped with neurons selectively representing the visual shape of the primate hand. Neuroimaging in humans provided data suggesting that a similar representation can be found in humans. Here, we investigated selectivity of hand representation in humans by means of the visual adaptation technique. Results showed that participants’ judgment of human-likeness of a visual probe representing a human hand was specifically reduced by a visual adaptation procedure when using a human hand adaptor but not when using an anthropoid robotic hand or a non-primate animal paw adaptor. Instead, human-likeness of the anthropoid robotic hand was affected by both human and robotic adaptors. No effect was found when using a non-primate animal paw as adaptor or probe. These results support the existence of specific neural mechanisms encoding human hand in the human’s visual system.
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