A Functional Role for Motor Simulation in Identifying Tools

Witt, Jessica K. and Kemmerer, David and Linkenauger, Sally A. and Culham, Jody (2010) A Functional Role for Motor Simulation in Identifying Tools. Psychological Science, 21 (9). pp. 1215-1219. ISSN 0956-7976

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Abstract

Embodied cognition promotes the involvement of the motor system in cognitive processing, such as tool identification. Although neuropsychological studies suggest that the motor system is not necessary for identifying tools, it may still have a functional role in tool recognition. To test this possibility, we used a motor interference task: Participants squeezed a rubber ball in one hand while naming pictures of tools and animals. Participants were faster and more accurate in naming the tools that were oriented with the handle facing away from the squeezing hand than in naming the tools that were oriented with the handle facing toward the squeezing hand. There was no effect of orientation for animals. Given that participants simulate grasping a tool with the hand closest to the handle, this result demonstrates that interfering with the ability to simulate grasping impairs tool naming and suggests that motor simulation has a functional role in tool identification.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Psychological Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3200
Subjects:
ID Code:
64221
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
25 Apr 2013 11:00
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
17 Oct 2020 09:55