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We demonstrate that right-handed participants make speeded classification responses to pairs of objects that appear in standard co-locations for right-handed actions relative to when they appear in reflected locations. These effects are greater when participants "weight" information for action when deciding if 2 objects are typically used together, compared with deciding if objects typically occur in a given context. The effects are enhanced, and affect both types of decision, when an agent is shown holding the objects. However, the effects are eliminated when the objects are not viewed from the first-person perspective and when words are presented rather than objects. The data suggest that (a) participants are sensitive to whether objects are positioned correctly for their own actions, (b) the position information is coded within an egocentric reference frame, (c) the critical representation involved is visual and not semantic, and (d) the effects are enhanced by a sense of agency. The results can be interpreted within a dual-route framework for action retrieval in which a direct visual route is influenced by affordances for action.

Original publication




Journal article


J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform

Publication Date





812 - 824


Adolescent, Adult, Attention, Decision Making, Discrimination (Psychology), Female, Functional Laterality, Habituation, Psychophysiologic, Hand Strength, Humans, Judgment, Male, Orientation, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Psychomotor Performance, Reaction Time, Recognition (Psychology), Semantics, Tool Use Behavior, Young Adult