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My latest #research on #human #tool use has just been published with @SpringerNature in @SciReports. Read here: https://t.co/JNk4qhB9Tk.

twitted on Apr 09, 2020 at 02:47

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In two eye-tracking experiments, just published in Scientific Reports, we investigated how the visuo-perceptual context and the goal of the task influenced both visuo-attentional processing and object recognition of tools that are part of object-tool pairs. We found that participants’ fixation pattern focused on tool's manipulation area (e.g., the handle of a screwdriver) under thematically consistent conditions (e.g., screwdriver-screw pair) and on tool's functional area (e.g., the head of a hammer) under thematically inconsistent conditions (e.g., screwdriver-nut pair). Crucially, looking at the tools with the aim of recognising them generated longer fixations on tools’ functional areas, irrespective of thematic consistency. In addition, tools, but not objects, were recognised faster under thematically consistent conditions.

These results challenge the mainstream embodied cognition view and strongly support a reasoning-based approach of human tool use.

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In the present eye-tracking study, we analysed the visuo-spatial attentional patterns of participants looking at 3D images depicting single tools and object-tool pairs. The object-tool pairs could be thematically consistent, thematically inconsistent or spatially inconsistent. During the first 500 ms of visual exploration, tools were fixated longer on their functional area in all experimental conditions. However, extending the time-window of analysis to 1750 ms, the visual scene was encoded in a faster and more suited-for-action way in the thematically consistent condition (e.g., hammer-nail). Most important, the visual exploration of the thematically consistent pairs focused on the manipulation area of the tool (e.g., the handle of the hammer) more than on its functional area (e.g., the head of the hammer). Finally, when single tools were shown and the entire time-window of analysis was considered (1750 ms), fixation focused on the tool’s manipulation area. These results are discussed within the reasoning-based framework of tool use. They highlight the relative role of the visuo-perceptual context in affordance perception and suggest a novel interpretation of the cognitive mechanisms underlying the processing of tools and object-tool pairs in terms of action reappraisal (i.e., a re-functionalization process when the action possibility is mined by the visuo-perceptual context).

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