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08-02-2020 | Original Article Open Access

The prominent role of perceptual salience in object discrimination: overt discrimination of graspable side does not activate grasping affordances

Tijdschrift:
Psychological Research
Auteurs:
Antonello Pellicano, Ferdinand Binkofski
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Abstract

Responses to object stimuli are often faster when jutting handles are aligned with responding hands, than when they are not: handle-to-hand correspondence effects. According to a location coding account, locations of visually salient jutting parts determine the spatial coding of objects. This asymmetry then facilitates same-sided responses compared to responses on the opposite side. Alternatively, this effect has been attributed to grasping actions of the left or the right hand afforded by the handle orientation and independent of its salience (affordance activation account). Our experiments were designed to disentangle the effects of pure salience from those of affordance activations. We selected pictures of tools with one salient and non-graspable side, and one graspable and non-salient side (non-jutting handle). Two experiments were run. Each experiment had two groups of participants: one group discriminated the location of the salient side of the object stimuli; the other group discriminated the location of the graspable side of them. In Experiment 1, responses were left and right button presses; in Experiment 2, they were left and right button presses plus reach-and-grasp actions. When visual salience was removed from graspable sides, no correspondence effect was observed between their orientation and the responding hands in both the experiments. Conversely, when salience depended on non-graspable portions, a correspondence effect was produced between their orientation and the responding hand. Overt attention to graspable sides did not potentiate any grasping affordance even when participants executed grasping responses in addition to button presses. Results support the location coding account: performance was influenced by the spatial coding of visually salient properties of objects.

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