The present study aimed to determine whether the representation of object affordances requires specification of the effector potentially interacting with the object: specifically, in this study, vision of the interacting hand. In Experiment 1 we used an apparatus by which a fruit to be reached and grasped was identified by word reading, whereas another (interfering) fruit was visually perceived at the same location as the target. The apparatus allowed visual presentation of the agent's interacting hand or prevented it. When visually presented, the hand was perceived as still at the start position even when it moved to grasp the fruit. An interference effect on the grasp congruent with the distractor size was observed only when the hand was visible. In Experiment 2, interference was observed also when a hand different from the agent's own was visually presented. In both Experiments 1 and 2 the visible fruit interfered with the arm's reach, but the effect was independent of its size and less dependent on the visually-presented hand. A control experiment (Experiment 3) enabled comparison of the interference of visual stimuli on targets identified by word reading (Experiments 1 and 2) with that of objects identified by word reading on visually-presented targets (Experiment 3). The interference induced by visual stimuli was stronger than the interference induced by objects identified by words (i.e. affordances evoked by visual stimuli were stronger than affordances evoked by semantics). Taken together, the results of the present study suggest that the specification of the agent's effector is necessary for the elicitation of affordances. However, the elicitation of these affordances was observed for interactions between object and hand (grasp), rather than for interactions between object and arm (reach). Finally, our data confirm the influence of semantics on the control of arm movements, though less strong than that due to visual input.
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