Extensive research has suggested that simply viewing an object can automatically prime compatible actions for object manipulation, known as affordances. Here we explored the generation of covert motor plans afforded by real objects with precision (‘pinchable’) or whole-hand/power (‘graspable’) grip significance under different types of vision. In Experiment 1, participants viewed real object primes either monocularly or binocularly and responded to orthogonal auditory stimuli by making precision or powergrips. Pinchable primes facilitated congruent precision grip responses relative to incongruent powergrips, and vice versa for graspable primes, but only in the binocular vision condition. To examine the temporal evolution of the binocular affordance effect, participants in Experiment 2 always viewed the objects binocularly but made no responses, instead receiving a transcranial magnetic stimulation pulse over their primary motor cortex at three different times (150, 300, 450 ms) after prime onset. Motor evoked potentials (MEPs) recorded from a pinching muscle were selectively increased when subjects were primed with a pinchable object, whereas MEPs from a muscle associated with power grips were increased when viewing graspable stimuli. This interaction was obtained both 300 and 450 ms (but not 150 ms) after the visual onset of the prime, characterising for the first time the rapid development of binocular grip-specific affordances predicted by functional accounts of the affordance effect.
Makris, S., Grant, S., Hadar, A., & Yarrow, K. (2013). Binocular vision enhances a rapidly evolving affordance priming effect: Behavioural and TMS evidence. Brain and Cognition, 83(3), 279-287. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2013.09.004