semantic categorisation and movement

kenneth paul collins KPCollins at
Tue Oct 1 00:03:43 EST 1996

Kerry Bennett wrote:
> (Sorry, a previous message was sent through accidentally prior to
> completion)
> Has anyone got any suggestions for the interpretation of some amazing
> results that we have recently obtained.
> The title of our project was:
> Does semantic categorisation influence the performance of a coordinated
> motor action?
> Basically, we assessed the bilateral reach to grasp action
> kinematically.
> Participants were required to slide two trolleys together. We
> manipulated
> the picture-pairs that were on the trolleys. The different living pairs
> were Animal?Animal, Vegetable/vegetable, Fruit/Fruit, Animal/fruit etc
> The non-living pairs included tools, furniture and vehicles.
> The results showed that movements involving living pairs were fasrer and
> organised differently to movements involving non-living pairs. For
> example, the time of peak arm acceleration was earlier in both absolute
> and relative terms for living pairs than for non-living pairs. Similar
> differences were found for the times of peak velocity, peak
> deceleration,  and parameters measured from the manipulation component
> Our basic interpretation at the moment is that different perceptuomotor
> pathways are employed according to semantic categorisation of stimuli to
> be acted upon, but we would welcome any further ideas!!
> Kerry Bennett and Joyce Thomas

(I've also replied elsewhere, if it's alright with you, please respond here in 

can you tell us anything about the relative familiarity of the
categories of the inanimate pairs vs the familiarity of categories of the
living pairs...?

...cognitive map following tends toward real-time... I'd not be surprised to
find that the degree of category familiarity is the determining factor...
you can test this by testing folks having different professions... only
thing is, =everyone= will be roughly equally familiar with food,
plant, and animal catagories... so what you can look for are relative
differences when subjects deal with pairs taken from their professions vs
pairs taken from a profession with which they are totally naive...

...and your results will be extremely-generalizable with respect to all
manner of cognitive questions... essentilly, what you will be looking at and
quantifying will be the effects of experience upon performance... after
building a database, you can even predict outcomes of problem-solving trials
between experienced and naive subjects re particular tasks... from this,
you'll also be able to predict "emotional" "states"... you can go a =long=
way with the timing data your experimental design focuses upon... ken
People hate because they fear, and they fear because
they do not understand, and they do not understand 
because hating is less work than understanding.

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