We compared action (pour or twist?) and contextual/semantic (found in kitchen?) decisions made to pictures of objects, nonobjects, and words. Although there was no advantage for objects over words in contextual/semantic decisions, there was an advantage for objects over words and nonobjects in action decisions. For objects, both action and contextual/semantic decisions were faster than naming; for words, the opposite occurred. These results extend the early results of Potter and Faulconer (1975) that there is privileged access to semantic memory for objects relative to that for words and privileged access to phonology for words. Our data suggest that, for objects, there is privileged access to action knowledge rather than to all forms of semantic knowledge and that this is contingent on learned associations between objects and actions.
Caramazza, A., Hillis, A. E., Rapp, B. C., &Romani, C. (1990). The multiple semantics hypothesis: Multiple confusions?Cognitive Neuropsychology,7, 161–189.
Collins, A.M., &Quillian, M. R. (1969). Retrieval time from semantic memory.Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior,8, 214–248.
Coltheart, M., Curtis, B., Atkins, P., &Haller, M. (1993). Models of reading aloud: Dual-route and parallel-distributed-processing approaches.Psychological Review,100, 589–608.
Craighero, L., Fadiga, L., Rizzolatti, G., &Umiltà, C. (1998). Visuomotor priming.Visual Cognition,5, 109–126.
Craighero, L., Fadiga, L., Rizzolatti, G., &Umiltà, C. (1999). Action for perception: A motor-visual attentional effect.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,25, 1673–1692.
DeRenzi, E., Faglioni, P., &Sorgato, P. (1982). Modality-specific and supramodal mechanisms of apraxia.Brain,105, 301–312.
Glaser, W. R. (1992). Picture naming.Cognition,42, 61–105.
Glaser, W.R., &Düngelhoff, F.-J. (1984). The time course of picture-word interference.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,10, 640–654.
Hillis, A., &Caramazza, A. (1995). Cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying visual and semantic processing: Implication from “optic aphasia.”Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience,7, 457–478.
Humphreys, G.W., & Forde, E.M. E. (in press). Hierarchies, similarity and interactivity in object recognition: On the multiplicity of ‘categoryspecific’ deficits in neuropsychological populations.Behavioral & Brain Sciences.
Humphreys, G.W., Riddoch, M. J., &Quinlan, P. T. (1988). Cascade processes in picture identification.Cognitive Neuropsychology,5, 67–103.
Levelt, W. J.M., Roelofs, A., &Meyer, A. S. (1999). A theory of lexical access in language production.Behavioral & Brain Sciences,22, 1–38.
Lhermitte, F., &Beauvois, M. F. (1973). A visual-speech disconnection syndrome: Report of a case with optic aphasia.Brain,96, 695–714.
Pilgrim, E., &Humphreys, G.W. (1991). Impairment of action to visual objects in a case of ideomotor apraxia.Cognitive Neuropsychology,8, 459–473.
Plaut, D. C., McClelland, J. L., Seidenberg, M. S., &Patterson, K. (1996). Understanding normal and impaired word reading: Computational principles in quasi-regular domains.Psychological Review,103, 56–115.
Potter, M. C., &Faulconer, B. (1975). Time to understand pictures and words.Nature,253, 437–438.
Riddoch, M. J., &Humphreys, G.W. (1987). Visual object processing in a case of optic aphasia: A case of semantic access agnosia.Cognitive Neuropsychology,4, 131–185.
Riddoch, M. J., Humphreys, G.W., &Price, C. J. (1989). Routes to action: Evidence from apraxia.Cognitive Neuropsychology,6, 437–454.
Rosch, E., Mervis, C. B., Gray, W. D., Johnson, D. M., &Boyes-Bream, P. (1976). Basic objects in natural categories.Cognitive Psychology,8, 382–439.
Rothi, L. J. G., Mack, L., &Heilman, K. M. (1986). Pantomime agnosia.Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry,49, 451–454.
Rumelhart, D. E., &Todd, P. M. (1993). Learning and connectionist representations. In D. E. Meyer & S. Kornblum (Eds.),Attention and performance XIV. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Rumiati, R. I., &Humphreys, G. W. (1998). Recognition by action: Dissociating visual and semantic routes to actions in normal observers.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,24, 631–647.
Schwartz, M. F., Saffran, E.M., &Marin, O. S.M. (1980). Fractionating the reading process in dementia: Evidence for word-specific print-to-sound associations. In M. Coltheart, K. Patterson, & J. C. Marshall (Eds.),Deep dyslexia. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Tucker, M., &Ellis, R. (1998). On the relations between seen objects and components of potential actions.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,24, 830–846.
Yoon, Y. Y., Heinke, D., & Humphreys, G.W. (in press). Modelling direct perceptual constraints on action selection: The Naming and Action Model (NAM).Visual Cognition.
This work was supported by grants from the Medical Research Council, the Welcome Trust, and the Fyssen Foundation.
Electronic supplementary material
About this article
Cite this article
Chainay, H., Humphreys, G.W. Privileged access to action for objects relative to words. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 9, 348–355 (2002). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03196292
- Semantic Memory
- Naming Task
- Action Decision
- Action Knowledge
- Semantic Knowledge