Visual salience of 3D and 2D spoons determines S-R mapping and flanker effects

Aiping Xiong, Robert W. Proctor, Yaqi Xu, Howard N. Zelaznik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study tested the hypothesis that affordances for grasping with the corresponding hand are activated more strongly by three-dimensional (3D) real objects than by two-dimensional (2D) pictures of the objects. In Experiment 1, participants made left and right keypress responses to the handle or functional end (tip) of an eating utensil using compatible and incompatible mappings. In one session, stimuli were spoons mounted horizontally on a blackboard with the sides to which the handle and tip pointed varying randomly. In the other, stimuli were pictures of spoons displayed on a black computer screen. Three-dimensional and 2D sessions showed a similar benefit for compatible mapping when the tip was relevant and a small cost of compatible mapping when the handle was relevant. Experiment 2 used a flanker task in which participants responded compatibly to the location of the handle or the tip, and spoons located above and below the target spoon could have congruent or incongruent orientations. The difference between 3D and 2D displays was not obtained in the flanker effect for reaction time. There was little evidence that 3D objects activate grasping affordances that 2D images do not. Instead, we argue that visual salience of the tip is the critical factor determining these correspondence effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-253
Number of pages13
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)


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