Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 212, Issue 1, pp 125–142 | Cite as

To use or to move: goal-set modulates priming when grasping real tools

  • Kenneth F. ValyearEmail author
  • Craig S. Chapman
  • Jason P. Gallivan
  • Robert S. Mark
  • Jody C. Culham
Research Article


How we interact with objects depends on what we intend to do with them. In the current work, we show that priming and the kinematics of grasping depend on the goals of grasping, as well as the context in which tasks are presented. We asked participants to grasp familiar kitchen tools in order to either move them, grasp-to-move (GTM), or to demonstrate their common use, grasp-to-use (GTU). When tasks were blocked separately (Experiment 1), we found that priming was only evident for the GTU task. However, when tasks were presented in the same block of trials (Experiment 2), we observed priming for both tasks. Independent of priming, differences in kinematics and reaction times according to task were evident for both Experiments. Longer reaction times for the GTU task indicate more extensive planning, and differences in grasping reflect the characteristics of subsequent actions. Priming of real grasping is determined by task goals as well as task setting, both of which are likely to modulate how object features (affordances) are perceived and influence the planning of future actions.


Action priming Grasping Tool use Motor affordances Action planning 



This work was funded by an operating grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Grant # 249877-2006 RGPIN) to J.C and a postgraduate Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to K.V. We thank Christina Merkley, Gavin Buckingham, and Paul Gribble for their helpful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

221_2011_2705_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (355 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 355 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth F. Valyear
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Craig S. Chapman
    • 1
  • Jason P. Gallivan
    • 1
  • Robert S. Mark
    • 1
  • Jody C. Culham
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  2. 2.Frey Neuroimaging Lab, Department of PsychologyUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA

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