Are object affordances fully automatic? A case of covert attention

Makris, Stergios, Hadar, Aviad and Yarrow, Kielan (2013) Are object affordances fully automatic? A case of covert attention. Behavioral Neuroscience, 127 (5). pp. 797-802. ISSN 0735-7044 DOI

Are_object_affordances_fully_automatic.docx.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (939kB)


Inspired in part by Gibson’s (1979) ecological approach to perception, current neurocognitive theories of action suggest that the simple viewing of an object can automatically elicit motor programs for specific acts. However, the degree to which such affordances should be considered truly automatic is unknown. Here we explored the generation of motor plans afforded by pairs of cue objects that were viewed peripherally under different attentional states. Participants focused centrally while attending to just one of two peripheral cue objects that together had a strong significance for pinching, grasping, or both. They were instructed to ignore the objects and instead give power or precision grip responses to subsequent changes in background color. The data showed a significant interaction between type of response and type of object, indicating that object affordances are perceived even in nonfoveal vision. Critically, the generation of affordances was modulated by the locus of attention: Motor preparation was biased toward the attended object when two different categories of object appeared in the same trial, but the generation of affordances was also influenced by unattended stimuli. This finding demonstrates that object-action priming is not completely automatic, instead being constrained by processes of perceptual selection.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Psychology
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2015 16:15

Archive staff only

Item control page Item control page