In two experiments we investigate whether different decision tasks were influenced by object manipulability. In Experiment 1, participants had to categorize objects represented by drawings or by words into artefacts or natural kinds. Natural objects received faster responses than artefacts, probably because the latter activate functional information that interferes with task responses. In Experiment 2, manipulability was made relevant to the task by asking participants to categorize items into two categories depending on whether or not they could be picked up and put inside a backpack. The disadvantage of artefacts over natural kinds was still found. Intriguingly, now an effect of manipulability was also found, but only with natural kinds, probably due to the fact that they convey information associated both with action (“how”) and function (“what for”). The same pattern of results found with drawings and words suggests that also words activate motor information on how to grasp objects.
Do we access object manipulability while we categorize? Evidence from reaction time studies / BORGHI A., M; Bonfiglioli, C; Ricciardelli, P; Rubichi, Sandro; Nicoletti, R.. - STAMPA. - 1:(2008), pp. 153-170.