The role of perceptual load in action affordance by ignored objects.

Murphy, S.; Van Velzen, Jose L. and De Fockert, J. W.. 2012. The role of perceptual load in action affordance by ignored objects. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, ISSN 1069-9384 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The extent to which an irrelevant distractor is processed during selective attention depends critically on the level of perceptual load on the relevant task. Here we show that perceptual load also affects the tendency of graspable objects to afford associated actions. Participants carried out a letter-search task and identified a target letter with the right or left hand while ignoring a graspable object with a handle oriented on the left or the right side of the object. The target letter was presented either on its own (low perceptual load) or alongside five nontarget letters (high load). Responses were faster when the action afforded by the ignored object was compatible (vs. incompatible) with the current target response, but only when the perceptual load of the letter search task was low. This finding is the first to demonstrate the role of perceptual load in action affordances by ignored objects.

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August 2012Published

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Date Deposited:

30 Aug 2012 11:20

Last Modified:

04 Jul 2017 13:54

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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