August 2016
Volume 16, Issue 12
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2016
Action potentiates conceptual links between words and pictures
Author Affiliations
  • Blaire Weidler
    Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Richard Abrams
    Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis
Journal of Vision September 2016, Vol.16, 271. doi:
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      Blaire Weidler, Richard Abrams; Action potentiates conceptual links between words and pictures. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):271.

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

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Recent research has demonstrated that action can have a profound influence on perception. For example, preparing or executing an action toward an object can subsequently alter the perception of basic features of the object such as color, shape, or size. Here for the first time we show that an arbitrary action directed toward an object can influence perception of stimuli that share only a conceptual relationship with the acted-on object. More specifically, in two experiments participants either made an action towards (pressed the space bar) or viewed a word. Next, a search array appeared in which participants searched for a left or right arrow (while ignoring a distracting vertical or horizontal arrow). Both the target and distractor arrows were superimposed on images. Although irrelevant to the visual search task, one image always represented the word that had been seen earlier. Participants responded faster when the target was on that image (presumably due to word-picture priming) even though it was not predictive of the target location. Importantly, in both experiments this word-picture priming effect was enhanced following an action towards the word. Thus, these results show that an action towards an object results in prioritization in the visual system not only of basic perceptual features of the object (such as color and shape), but of conceptual ones as well.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016


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