Which body for embodied cognition? Affordance and language within actual and perceived reaching space

Consciousness and Cognition 21 (3):1551-1557 (2012)
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The mental representation of one’s own body does not necessarily correspond to the physical body. For instance, a dissociation between perceived and actual reach-ability has been shown, that is, individuals perceive that they can reach objects that are out of grasp. We presented participants with 3D pictures of objects located at four different distances, namely near-reaching space, actual-reaching space, perceived-reaching space and non-reaching space. Immediately after they were presented with function, manipulation, observation or pointing verbs and were required to judge if the verb was compatible with the object.Participants were faster with function and manipulation verbs than with observation and pointing verbs. Strikingly, with both function and manipulation verbs participants were faster when objects were presented in actual than the perceived reaching space. These findings suggest that our knowledge of the world is implicitly built online through behaviour, and is not necessarily reflected in explicit estimates or conscious representations



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