Motor experience with graspable objects reduces their implicit analysis in visual- and motor-related cortex.
Motor-related regions of parietal and prefrontal cortices have been shown to selectively activate when observers passively view objects that afford manual grasping. Yet, it remains unknown whether these cortical responses depend on prior motor-related experience with the object being observed. To address this question, we asked participants to undergo fMRI scanning while viewing exemplars of two different categories of graspable objects: one associated with extensive motor experience (door knobs) and one associated with no self-reported motor experience (artificial rock climbing holds). Despite participants' lack of experience grasping climbing holds, these objects were found to generate a systematic response in several visuomotor-related regions of cortex-including left PMv and left AIP. Interestingly, however, the response to door knobs did not include activity in any motor-related regions, being limited instead to a comparatively small bilateral area of lateral occipital cortex, relative to the more spatially extensive response in occipital and temporal cortex that was observed for climbing holds. This result suggested that object-specific responses in both visual- and motor-related cortex may in fact negatively correlate with object-specific motor experience. To test this possibility, we repeated the experiment using participants having extensive self-reported experience grasping climbing holds (i.e., veteran indoor rock climbers). Consistent with our hypothesis, both climbing holds and door knobs generated activity limited to lateral occipital cortex. Taken together, these data support the proposal that repeated real-world motor experience with an object category may lead to reduced implicit analysis in both motor- and visual-related regions of cortex.
Handy, TC; Tipper, CM; Schaich Borg, J; Grafton, ST; Gazzaniga, MS
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