September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
Implied action affordance facilitates visual search
Author Affiliations
  • Michael Gomez
    Department of Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno
  • Jacqueline Snow
    Department of Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 1067. doi:
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      Michael Gomez, Jacqueline Snow; Implied action affordance facilitates visual search. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):1067.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Although numerous studies have explored the influence of object affordances on perception, it is usually the case that only one or two items are depicted and the affordance-related stimuli differ markedly from low-affordance exemplars. Here we examined whether visual search for stimuli that imply action is superior to non-affordance-related images using more cluttered visual arrays where the stimuli are closely matched for color, luminance, and contrast. The search displays contained greyscale objects that implied action, or ‘reconfigured’ versions of the same stimuli that did not imply action. Search performance was examined in Experiment 1 using door levers, and in Experiment 2 using forks. Reconfigured stimuli were created by digitally rotating one component of the functional end of the object (i.e., the door lever fulcrum / fork prongs) into a spatial configuration that interfered with implied functionality. The stimuli were presented briefly in a 2 x 2 grid. In half of the trials, the stimuli were identical (target absent trials); in the remaining trials one item (the target) was presented with the handle in a reversed left/right orientation from the remaining ‘distractors’ (target present trials) in the grid. Right-handed observers were asked to make a speeded target present / absent decision. In Experiment 1, intact door lever targets were detected faster than their reconfigured counterparts. In Experiment 2, target detection accuracy was more accurate for intact fork targets than their reconfigured counterparts. In both experiments, observers were faster to detect oddball targets in which the ‘functional’ or ‘reconfigured’ end was oriented towards the right than the left, and this effect was strongest for intact over reconfigured stimulus arrays. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that target search is facilitated for objects that imply action than those that do not, and that search is most efficient when an object’s functional end is rightward-oriented.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015


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