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Journal Article

The role of action representations in visual object recognition

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Helbig, H. B., Graf, M., & Kiefer, M. (2006). The role of action representations in visual object recognition. Experimental Brain Research, 174(2), 221-228. doi:10.1007/s00221-006-0443-5.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-E33D-5
It is typically assumed that perception for action and object recognition are subserved by functionally and neuroanatomically distinct processing streams in the brain. However, recent evidence challenges this classical view and suggests an interaction between both visual processing streams. While previous studies showed an influence of object perception on action-related tasks, we investigated whether action representations facilitate visual object recognition. In order to address this question, two briefly displayed masked objects were sequentially presented, either affording congruent or incongruent motor interactions. We found superior naming accuracy for object pairs with congruent as compared to incongruent motor interactions (Experiment 1). This action priming effect indicates that action representations can facilitate object recognition. We further investigated the nature of the representations underlying this action priming effect. The effect was absent when the prime stimulus was presented as a word (Experiment 2). Thus, the action priming effect seems to rely on action representations specified by visual object information. Our findings suggest that processes of object-directed action influence object recognition.