The role of inhibition of irrelevant sources of association in detecting action affordances between objects
Karamanis, Viktor Markos
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The surrounding environment is full of entities which can be associated with each other, either due to some common characteristics, creating taxonomic relations, or because of a common thematic connection. According to the classical view of cognition, semantic memory is the store which holds all this information in an abstract, amodal form. Complementary to it, embodied cognition suggests that cognitive relations and cognition are not amodal, but they have modalities which are influenced by current events, the sociopolitical environment and the way one interacts with the world. Studies in this field have stressed out the importance of action in the creation of thematic relations, as interaction fundamentally shapes how we perceive objects’ affordances. Accordingly, thematic relations can be formed between entities which involve action, such as the hammer and the nail, and it has been shown that these are affected by the degradation of the sensorimotor capabilities. Another function which impacts the formation of cognitive relations is inhibition, as poor inhibition typically yields to a preference of thematic relations. However, to our knowledge there have not been any study further investigating the role of inhibition in the detection of thematic relations involving action, which was the main objective of the current master’s dissertation. In particular, it was hypothesized that the participants with less inhibitory control will be less effective in the task considering the recognition of thematic relations involving action. This is because they will have difficulty in inhibiting the interference of the distractor object, whereas the opposite would be true for participants with good inhibition. Inhibition was tested using Go/noGo, Navon and Stroop tasks, which are highly popular tasks for such purpose. Moreover, the participants’ performance in recognizing thematic relations involving action was assessed using a novel task named DoTIBO. The inquiry was conducted online by using Psychopy, mainly due to COVID-19 restrictions, and it was available for Greek and English native speakers. In total there were 54 participants coming mainly from several places around Greece. The results between the Go/noGo and the DoTIBO tasks validated that the distractor object of the DoTIBO task is associated with the inhibitory control. While the results between the DoTIBO and the Stroop task did not support the current hypothesis. Navon task had irregular results, and they have not been taken into further consideration.