Motor Simulation & the Effects of Energetic & Emotional Costs of Depicted Actions in Picture Perception

Journal of Vision 8 (6):1041a (2008)

William Seeley
University of New Hampshire, Manchester
Psychological studies (Proffitt, 2006) have demonstrated that what one sees is influenced by one's goals, physiological state, and emotions. These studies demonstrate that there is a positive correlation between the physical demands (energetic cost) and perceived valence (emotional cost) of a task and the appearance of slant and egocentric distance in the environment. The studies are compelling. However, one can question whether their results are due to changes in the way participants perceived the orientation and extent of their environment or are instead artifacts of the way they judged the difficulty of expected tasks in particular contexts. We asked participants to sketch the rough spatial layout of several paintings as accurately as possible. In this type of task participants continuously compare what they have drawn against what they perceive. Therefore, participants performance can be interpreted as a means to directly measure of the spatial metric of perception. We chose two paintings by Andrew Wyeth as target images: “Christina's World” and “Winter, 1946.” Participants were asked to draw the spatial arrangement of the key features of the scene depicted in the target painting twice: prior to being presented with biographical information about the subject of the painting condition; and then again after being told the biographical information that altered the perceived task demands or emotional valence of the events they depicted. We predicted that participants' drawings would differ in the two conditions indicating that: change in the energetic or emotional costs of the depicted action would cause them to perceive the depicted orientation of hills as steeper and distance between key landmarks as longer. Results from the energetic cost condition support this prediction. We will discuss our results and the suggestion that these types of effects reflect a role for motor simulation in perception (Witt, 2005).
Keywords Cognitive Science, Perception, Embodied Cognition
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 47,201
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Through the Flat Canvas: The Motor Meaning of Realistic Paintings.Silvano Zipoli Caiani - 2016 - Aisthesis: Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi Dell’Estetico 9 (2):197-217.
Threefoldness.Bence Nanay - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):163-182.
Perceiving Pictures.Bence Nanay - 2011 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 10 (4):461-480.
Emotion Colors Time Perception Unconsciously.Yuki Yamada & Takahiro Kawabe - 2011 - Consciousness and Cognition 20 (4):1835-1841.
Inflected and Uninflected Perception of Pictures.Bence Nanay - 2010 - In Catharine Abell & Katerina Bantinaki (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Depiction. Oxford University Press.
Pictures, Emotions, and the Dorsal/Ventral Account of Picture Perception.Gabriele Ferretti - 2017 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (3):595-616.


Added to PP index

Total views

Recent downloads (6 months)

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes

Sign in to use this feature