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Prof. dr. J.B.J. (Jeroen) Smeets

Department of Human Movement Sciences
van der Boechorststraat 7
1081 BT Amsterdam
phone: +31 (20) 59 82572
fax: +31 (20) 59 88845
room: A-618

Research topics
variability & adaptation
eye movements
space & time
color vision


My research in the last years can be grouped around 3 themes: interception, prehension and illusions in perception and action. It is performed in close collaboration with Eli Brenner.

Interception poses problems that are difficult to control due to the continuously changing target position in combination with the inevitable neural delays. Research on this topic has shown that these problems are only circumvented to a very limited extent by using predictive information (like the ball's speed). Subjects rather use the information of previous trials, or correct on-line for the errors made in the earlier part of the movement. Similar effects were found for eye-movements towards moving objects.

Prehension is a very common task that encompasses some of the fundamental problems of visuomotor co-ordination. We developed a new view on how it is organised. This view is formalised in a mathematical model. Some of the predictions of the model are already tested, and others are still being investigated. One of the interesting aspects of our approach is that it makes no distinction between grasping and pointing. This has led to predictions for the control of pointing that are also currently under investigation.

Illusions in perception and action. This line of research recently developed into a seperate theme based on the research on interception and prehension. Contrary to many others, we think that action is not less susceptible to illusions than perception. We think that the reason that many researchers report otherwise is that they compare variables of the action with perceptual judgements on other variables. We found evidence for this hypothesis in our research on interception and grasping.

All publications

Some publications

Brenner, E., Smeets, J.B.J. (2019) How can you best measure reaction times? Journal of Motor Behavior, 51: 486-495 (reprint, DOI)

de la Malla, C., Brenner, E., de Haan, E.H.F., Smeets, J.B.J. (2019). A visual illusion that influences perception and action through the dorsal pathway. Communications Biology, 2:38 (reprint, DOI) Superlab_logo

Plaisier, M.A., Kuling, I.A., Brenner, E., Smeets, J.B.J. (2019) When does one decide how heavy an object feels while picking it up? Psychological Science, 30:822-829 (reprint, DOI) Superlab_logo

Schot, W. D., Brenner, E., Smeets, J. B. J. (2017). Unusual prism adaptation reveals how grasping is controlled. eLife, 6, e21440. (reprint, DOI)

Smeets, J. B. J., Oostwoud Wijdenes, L., Brenner, E. (2016). Movement adjustments have short latencies because there is no need to detect anything. Motor Control, 20, 137-148. (reprint, DOI)

van der Kooij, K., Brenner, E., van Beers, R.J., Smeets, J.B.J. (2015) Visuomotor Adaptation: How Forgetting Keeps Us Conservative PLoS One, 10(2): e0117901 (reprint, DOI)

van Beers, R.J., Brenner, E., Smeets, J.B.J. (2013) Random walk of motor planning in task-irrelevant dimensions. Journal of Neurophysiology, 109:969-977 (reprint, DOI)

Smeets, J.B.J., Brenner, E. (2008) Grasping Weber's law Current Biology 18:R1089-R1090 (reprint, DOI)

Smeets, J.B.J., van den Dobbelsteen, J.J., de Grave, D.D.J., van Beers, R.J., Brenner, E. (2006) Sensory integration does not lead to sensory calibration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103:18781-18786 (DOI, reprint, supporting info, F1000 evaluation)

Smeets, J.B.J., Brenner, E. (1999) A new view on grasping. Motor Control 3:237-271. (reprint)

Brenner, E., Smeets, J.B.J. (1996) Size illusion influences how we lift but not how we grasp an object. Experimental Brain Research, 111:473-476. (reprint)

Smeets, J.B.J., Brenner, E. (1995) Perception and action are based on the same visual information: distinction between position and velocity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 21:19-31. (reprint, DOI)

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Deaprtment of Human Movement Sciences, VU University, Amsterdam