Title

Tool Use and the Effect of Action on the Imagination

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition

Volume

26

Issue

6

Publisher

American Psychological Association

Publication Date

2000

First Page

1655

Last Page

1665

Abstract

Three studies examined the claim that hand movements can facilitate imagery for object rotations but that this facilitation depends on people's model of the situation. In Experiment 1, physically turning a block without vision reduced mental rotation times compared with imagining the same rotation without bodily movement. In Experiment 2, pulling a string from a spool facilitated participants' mental rotation of an object sitting on the spool. In Experiment 3, depending on participants' model of the spool, the exact same pulling movement facilitated or interfered with the exact same imagery transformation. Results of Experiments 2 and 3 indicate that the geometric characteristics of an action do not specify the trajectory of an imagery transformation. Instead, they point to people's ability to model the tools that mediate between motor activity and its environmental consequences and to transfer tool knowledge to a new situation.

Comments

Originally published by the American Psychological Association. Abstract available through remote link via PubMed. Subscription required to access article fulltext.