Concurrent Cortical Representations of Function- and Size-Related Object Affordances: An fMRI Study


Kourtis D, Vandemaele P & Vingerhoets G (2018) Concurrent Cortical Representations of Function- and Size-Related Object Affordances: An fMRI Study. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 18 (6), p. 1221–1232.

Previous work has shown that the perception of a graspable object may automatically potentiate actions that are tailored to specific action-related features of the object (e.g., its size) and may be related to its immediate grasping as well as to its long-term, functional use. We investigated the neural correlates of function-and size-related object affordances that may be concurrently potentiated by a graspable object. Participants were lying in a MR scanner holding a large switch in one hand and a small switch in the other hand. They passively attended a large or a small object with clearly separated functional and graspable end that was displayed centrally at an average angle of 45 degrees. Participants responded to the direction of an arrow that was overlaid on the object after a mean period of 1,000 ms after object onset and was pointing to the left or to the right with equal probability. Response times were shorter when the arrow pointed to the functional end of the object and when the responses were made with the switch that was congruent to the size of the perceived object. A clear distinction was found in the representation of function-and size-related affordances; the former was represented in the posterior parietal cortex and the latter in prefrontal, premotor, and primary sensorimotor cortices. We conclude that different aspects of object-directed actions may be automatically potentiated by individual object features and are represented in distinct brain areas.

Object affordances; Object size; Object function; Dorsal stream; Posterior parietal cortex; fMRI;

Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience: Volume 18, Issue 6

FundersFonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek
Publication date01/12/2018
Publication date online28/08/2018
Date accepted by journal10/08/2018
PublisherSpringer Nature America, Inc