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A systematic review of perception of affordances for the person-plus-object system


Human behavior often involves the use of an object held by or attached to the body, which modifies the individual’s action capabilities. Moreover, most everyday behaviors consist of sets of behaviors that are nested over multiple spatial and temporal scales, which require perceiving and acting on nested affordances for the person-plus-object system. This systematic review investigates how individuals attune to information about affordances involving the person-plus-object system and how they (re)calibrate their actions to relevant information. We analyzed 71 articles—34 on attunement and 37 on (re)calibration with healthy participants—that experimentally investigated the processes involved in the perception of affordances for the person-plus-object system (including attunement, calibration, and recalibration). With respect to attunement, objects attached to the body create a multiplicity of affordances for the person-plus-object system, and individuals learned (1) to detect information about affordances of (and for) the person-plus-object system in a task and (2) to choose whether, when, and how to exploit those affordances to perform that task. Concerning (re)calibration, individuals were able (1) to quickly scale their actions in relation to the (changed) action capabilities of the person-plus-object system and (2) to perceive multiple functionally equivalent ways to exploit the affordances of that system, and these abilities improved with practice. Perceiving affordances for the person-plus-object system involves learning to detect the information about such affordances (attunement) and the scaling of behaviors to such information (calibration). These processes imply a general ability to incorporate an object attached to the body into an integrated person-plus-object system.

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Correspondence to Pierre Vauclin.

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This systematic review does contain supplementary material and, this systematic review was not preregistered.

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Vauclin, P., Wheat, J., Wagman, J.B. et al. A systematic review of perception of affordances for the person-plus-object system. Psychon Bull Rev (2023).

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