Conflict in object affordance revealed by grip force.
McBride J., Sumner P., Husain M.
Viewing objects can result in automatic, partial activation of motor plans associated with them-"object affordance". Here, we recorded grip force simultaneously from both hands in an object affordance task to investigate the effects of conflict between coactivated responses. Participants classified pictures of objects by squeezing force transducers with their left or right hand. Responses were faster on trials where the object afforded an action with the same hand that was required to make the response (congruent trials) compared to the opposite hand (incongruent trials). In addition, conflict between coactivated responses was reduced if it was experienced on the preceding trial, just like Gratton adaptation effects reported in "conflict" tasks (e.g., Eriksen flanker). This finding suggests that object affordance demonstrates conflict effects similar to those shown in other stimulus-response mapping tasks and thus could be integrated into the wider conceptual framework on overlearnt stimulus-response associations. Corrected erroneous responses occurred more frequently when there was conflict between the afforded response and the response required by the task, providing direct evidence that viewing an object activates motor plans appropriate for interacting with that object. Recording continuous grip force, as here, provides a sensitive way to measure coactivated responses in affordance tasks.