Viewing and performing actions can change what you see


Previous research has demonstrated a tight link between object perception and action: viewing an object primes the action needed to interact with it, while priming an action can affect the speed and accuracy with which we perceive the object. However, it is not yet known whether motor information can qualitatively change what object we actually perceive. We investigated this issue by having participants view or perform an action before viewing an ambiguous object. Results showed that viewing an action (a picture of a hand displaying a power or precision grasp) biased participants to interpret the ambiguous object as congruent with the action prime (Experiments 1 and 2). Conversely, performing an action (moving small or large balls from one tray to another) biased participants to interpret the object as incongruent with the motor action. Together, these results suggest viewing and performing actions can actually change what we see.

Back to Table of Contents