The Influence of Object Manipulation on Object Categorization

Research Areas: 

When humans observe different types of objects, they have semantic knowledge regarding the name and function of these objects. In other words, there is a special system of object categorization. But how do humans learn to develop and code this system of object categorization, and what are the neural locations for these processes? The purpose of the project is to examine object concepts are developed and stored in the human brain associated with object representation.


Methods and Research Questions: 

Knowledge about objects is organized according to sensory features and the motor properties associated with the objects during manipulation. However, how manual action influences object-categorization is not known. Thus, the purpose of the present study is to examine whether manipulating abstract objects can influence concept formation in long-term memory (LTM), as well as information processing in short-term memory (STM).

The Experiment will consist of the three parts pre-test, intervention phase and post-test. During the intervention phase, participants will manipulate 16 abstract objects that could be grouped either by: function, color, feature characteristic or surface texture. Participants will build one functional object out of four of these objects (Fig. 1). To investigate the influence of the long-term memory representation and short-term memory processes, participants will perform both the "Structural Analysis of Mental Representations" (SDA), and the “Cognition and Movement Chronometry” (CMC) in the pre-test, and immediately after the intervention phase as a post-test.


Hypothesis 1: In the pre-test, participants will cluster the objects according to shape, special features, or color. However, after manipulating the abstract objects, the cluster will be function based.


Hypothesis 2: Object manipulation will cause a rehearsal and enhance encoding the abstract objects. Therefore we hypothesize improved STM task performances after object manipulation.