August 2016
Volume 16, Issue 12
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2016
Affordance perception in socially contracted peripersonal space
Author Affiliations
  • Elizabeth Saccone
    School of Psychology, Flinders University of South Australia
  • Owen Churches
    School of Psychology, Flinders University of South Australia
  • Ancret Szpak
    School of Psychology, Flinders University of South Australia
  • Michael Nicholls
    School of Psychology, Flinders University of South Australia
Journal of Vision September 2016, Vol.16, 455. doi:
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      Elizabeth Saccone, Owen Churches, Ancret Szpak, Michael Nicholls; Affordance perception in socially contracted peripersonal space. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):455.

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

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Humans are highly skilled at perceiving manipulable objects and performing action toward them. To account for such precise coordination of vision and action, object affordance research suggests attending to an object activates relevant motor programs, and this may be particularly the case for objects in peripersonal or reachable space. Peripersonal space boundaries are flexible, however, and proximity of another person can contract this boundary because it overlaps with preferred social distance. Whether socially contracted peripersonal space influences object affordance perception is currently unknown but was investigated in the current study. Participants stood on one side of a narrow table and viewed object stimuli presented in reachable space on a screen that lay flat. Participants responded to the upright or inverted orientation of objects that had handles facing left or right. Social condition varied within subjects, such that participants performed the task both alone and together with a confederate standing on the other side of the table. Objects appeared in one of two locations, either closer to the participant's side of the table or nearer the confederate's. The typical affordance effect emerged in that there was a response advantage when left/right response hand matched the object's left/right handle orientation. When participants performed the task with the confederate, however, the affordance effect was only present for objects closer to the participant. When the task was performed alone, the affordance effect was found for objects in both locations. These results suggest that social proximity affects the perception of object affordances owing to contracted or shared peripersonal space. This study adds to the growing literature of how well-documented cognitive phenomena are influenced by social presence and therefore, how they might apply in a real world context.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016


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