Infoscience

Journal article

Learning to use novel objects: A training study on the acquisition of novel action representations

Many studies have suggested that the motor system is organized in a hierarchical fashion, around the prototypical end location associated with using objects. However, most studies supporting the hierarchical view have used well-known actions and objects that are highly over-learned. Accordingly, at present it is unclear if the hierarchical principle applies to learning the use of novel objects as well. In the present study we found that when learning to use a novel object subjects acquired an action representation of the end location associated with using the object, as evidenced by slower responses in an action observation task, when the object was presented at an incorrect end location. By showing the importance of knowledge about end locations when learning to use a novel object, the present study suggests that end locations are a fundamental organizing feature of the human motor system.

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EPFL authors