Getting a Handle on Meaning: Planned Hand Actions' Influence on the Identification of Handled Objects




Moise, Noah

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



We confirm that under certain conditions, constituents of motor actions afforded by handled objects play a role in their identification. Subjects held in working memory action plans specifying both the laterality of the hand to be used (left or right) and a wrist orientation (vertical or horizontal). Speeded object identification was impaired when a pictured object matched the action on only one of these two categorical dimensions (e.g., a frying pan with its handle facing left, an action plan involving the right hand and horizontal wrist orientation), relative to when the object matched the action on both dimensions or neither dimension. This phenomenon only occurred for a semantic task (i.e., naming) and significantly weakened when the handled object was named following the naming of a non-handled object. These results imply that, when maintaining the features of planned actions in working memory, identification of the object leads to conflict between components of the action plan and features of the grasp action afforded by the depicted object. When bound to a matching feature, the discrepant features cannot be easily disregarded, and conflict with the features of the target object resulted in delayed identification. Naming a non-handled object first weakens the pragmatic processing generated by attending to the features of the action plans, resulting in less conflict when only one feature matched between the action plan and action afforded by the handled object.



Action Representations, Theory of Event Coding, Perceptual Representations, Object Identification