The World Within Reach: Effects of Hand Posture and Tool Use on Visual Cognition

James R. Brockmole, Christopher C. Davoli, Richard A. Abrams, Jessica K. Witt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Our mental processing of the visual world is not independent of our physical actions within it. Placing objects near one's hands and interacting with objects using tools can enhance visual perception, bias and prolong the allocation of attention, and distort memory in systematic ways. This suggests that the world within our reach is cognitively different from the world beyond reach. In this review, we examine the evidence supporting this conclusion, focusing on the cognitive and neural mechanisms that underlie these effects, the parameters that may control their emergence, and their potential practical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-44
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • attention
  • embodied cognition
  • hand posture
  • memory
  • perception
  • tool use


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