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Long Ni, Ye Liu, Xiaolan Fu; Passively viewing a manipulable object activates its specific action representation: Evidence from a behavioral study. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):48. doi: 10.1167/13.9.48.
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There is increasing evidence that gestural knowledge of manipulable objects is an important part of object representation and plays a role in object identification. What remains unsolved is under what condition functional manipulation information is evoked. While studies from brain imaging supported the view that passively viewing a manipulable object is sufficient to activate its action-related information (Creem-Regehr & Lee, 2005; Wadsworth & Kana, 2011), behavioral research proved the opposite: activation of gestural knowledge is task-dependent and only could be evoked when participants attend to manipulable objects (Bub & Masson, 2006; Vainio, Ellis & Tucker, 2007). In the present study, a priming paradigm was used to explore if passively viewing manipulable objects could be enough to activate specific action information about how to use them. The experiment contained four conditions: congruent manipulability, incongruent manipulablity, the control and the unrelated, which depended on the relation of manipulation knowledge between the primes and the targets. Participants were required to conduct an object identification task by pressing the keyboard. The results showed that the target objects with similar manipulation representation to the prime objects were identified significantly faster than the pairs with dissimilar manipulation knowledge. The manipulation congruence effect was attributed neither to the visual similarity between the prime object and the target object, nor to the familiarity of the primes among the four conditions. To our knowledge, this was the first evidence by using behavioural study to indicate that just passively viewing a manipulable object was sufficient to activate its specific use-related manipulation representation that could facilitate object identification even without participants’ intention to use them. The results provided additional support to the interaction between ventral and dorsal visual pathways. The importance of manipulation knowledge in object represeatation will also be discussed.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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