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Potentiation of action by undetected affordant objects

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The physical attributes of objects that are relevant to motor behaviour, or action, are referred to as affordances (Gibson, 1979). Recent evidence has shown that an object's affordance can potentiate an unrelated motor response even when there is no intention to respond to it (e.g., Tucker & Ellis, 1998). In the five experiments, we examined whether conscious perception of an affordance is necessary to produce motor priming by presenting images of affordant objects (e.g., hammer) under conditions which cause them to be undetectable: Brief masked exposure (BME) and attentional blink (AB). We successfully demonstrated that conscious perception is not necessary for an object's affordance to produce motor priming. Since these findings are consistent with the abilities/disabilities of patients with blindsight and visual form agnosia, it is possible that processing accomplished by the dorsal stream produced this effect, though more research is needed to confirm this assertion.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: New School University, New York, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2008


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