Creating semantics in tool use

Arnaud Badets, Thomas Michelet, Aymar de Rugy, François Osiurak
Cogn Process. 2017-02-21; 18(2): 129-134
DOI: 10.1007/s10339-017-0795-8

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1. Cogn Process. 2017 May;18(2):129-134. doi: 10.1007/s10339-017-0795-8. Epub 2017
Feb 21.

Creating semantics in tool use.

Badets A(1), Michelet T(2), de Rugy A(3)(4), Osiurak F(5)(6).

Author information:
(1)CNRS, INCIA – Institut de Neurosciences Cognitives et Intégratives d’Aquitaine
(UMR 5287), Université de Bordeaux, Bât. 2A- 2ème étage, 146 rue Léo Saignat,
33076, Bordeaux Cedex, France. .
(2)Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, CNRS, Université de Bordeaux, 33000,
Bordeaux Cedex, France.
(3)CNRS, INCIA – Institut de Neurosciences Cognitives et Intégratives d’Aquitaine
(UMR 5287), Université de Bordeaux, Bât. 2A- 2ème étage, 146 rue Léo Saignat,
33076, Bordeaux Cedex, France.
(4)Centre for Sensorimotor Performance, School of Human Movement and Nutrition
Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
(5)Laboratoire d’Etude des Mécanismes Cognitifs (EA 3082), Université de Lyon,
Lyon, France.
(6)Institut Universitaire de France, Paris, France.

This article presents the first evidence for a functional link between tool use
and the processing of abstract symbols like Arabic numbers. Participants were
required to perform a tool-use task after the processing of an Arabic number.
These numbers represented either a small (2 or 3) or a large magnitude (8 or 9).
The tool-use task consisted in using inverse pliers for gripping either a small
or a large object. The inverse pliers enable to dissociate the hand action from
the tool action in relation to the object (i.e., closing the hand led to an
opening of the tool and vice versa). The number/tool hypothesis predicts that the
quantity representation associated with Arabic numbers will interact with the
action of the tool toward the object. Conversely, the number/hand hypothesis
predicts that the quantity associated with numbers will interact with the action
of the hand toward the tool. Results confirmed the first hypothesis and rejected
the second. Indeed, large numbers interacted with the action of the tool, such
that participants were longer to perform an “opening-hand/closing-tool” action
after the processing of large numbers. Moreover, no effect was detected for small
numbers, confirming previous studies which used only finger movements.
Altogether, our finding suggests that the well-known finger/number interaction
can be reversed with tool use.

DOI: 10.1007/s10339-017-0795-8
PMID: 28224314 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

Auteurs Bordeaux Neurocampus