Publications by authors named "Heath E Matheson"

13 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Neural correlates of the production effect: An fMRI study.

Brain Cogn 2021 Jun 12;152:105757. Epub 2021 Jun 12.

Memorial University of Newfoundland, Department of Psychology, St. John's, NL A1B 3X9, Canada. Electronic address:

Recognition memory is improved for items produced at study (e.g., by reading them aloud) relative to a non-produced control condition (e.g., silent reading). This production effect is typically attributed to the extra elements in the production task (e.g., motor activation, auditory perception) enhancing item distinctiveness. To evaluate this claim, the present study examined the neural mechanisms underlying the production effect. Prior to a recognition memory test, different words within a study list were read either aloud, silently, or while saying "check" (as a sensorimotor control condition). Production improved recognition, and aloud words yielded higher rates of both recollection and familiarity judgments than either silent or control words. During encoding, fMRI revealed stronger activation in regions associated with motor, somatosensory, and auditory processing for aloud items than for either silent or control items. These activations were predictive of recollective success for aloud items at test. Together, our findings are compatible with a distinctiveness-based account of the production effect, while also pointing to the possible role of other processing differences during the aloud trials as compared to silent and control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2021.105757DOI Listing
June 2021

Scene context shapes category representational geometry during processing of tools.

Cortex 2021 Aug 10;141:1-15. Epub 2021 Apr 10.

Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, Elkins Park, PA, USA.

Tools are ubiquitous in human environments and to think about them we use concepts. Increasingly, conceptual representation is thought to be dynamic and sensitive to the goals of the observer. Indeed, observer goals can reshape representational geometry within cortical networks supporting concepts. In the present study, we investigated the novel hypothesis that task-irrelevant scene context may implicitly alter the representational geometry of regions within the tool network. Participants performed conceptual judgments on images of tools embedded in scenes that either suggested their use (i.e., a kitchen timer sitting on a kitchen counter with vegetables in a frying pan) or that they would simply be moved (i.e., a kitchen timer sitting in an open drawer with other miscellaneous kitchen items around). We investigated whether representations in the tool network reflect category, grip, and shape information using a representational similarity analysis (RSA). We show that a) a number of regions of the tool network reflect category information about tools and b) category information predicts patterns in supramarginal gyrus more strongly in use contexts than in move contexts. Together, these results show that information about tool category is distributed across different regions of the tool network and that scene context helps shape the representational geometry of the tool network.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2021.03.021DOI Listing
August 2021

The role of the motor system in generating creative thoughts.

Neuroimage 2020 06 3;213:116697. Epub 2020 Mar 3.

Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, United States.

Neurocognitive research is pertinent to developing mechanistic models of how humans generate creative thoughts. Such models usually overlook the role of the motor cortex in creative thinking. The framework of embodied or grounded cognition suggests that creative thoughts (e.g. using a shoe as a hammer, improvising a piano solo) are partially served by simulations of motor activity associated with tools and their use. The major hypothesis stemming from the embodied or grounded account is that, while the motor system is used to execute actions, simulations within this system also support higher-order cognition, creativity included. That is, the cognitive process of generating creative output, not just executing it, is deeply embedded in motor processes. Here, we highlight a collection of neuroimaging research that implicates the motor system in generating creative thoughts, including some evidence for its functionally necessary role in generating creative output. Specifically, the grounded or embodied framework suggests that generating creative output may, in part, rely on motor simulations of possible actions, and that these simulations may by partially implemented in the motor regions themselves. In such cases, action simulations (i.e. reactivating or re-using the motor system), do not result in overt action but instead are used to support higher-order cognitive goals like generating creative uses or improvising.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116697DOI Listing
June 2020

Investigating grounded conceptualization: Stimulus-response compatibility for tool handles is due to spatial attention.

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 2019 Apr 28;45(4):441-457. Epub 2019 Feb 28.

Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania.

Brain imaging research shows that viewing tools activates regions of the cortex implicated in performing actions with that tool. Grounded (or embodied) theories of cognition propose that this activity reflects the activation of motor representations that are constitutive of the object concept. Behaviorally, participants respond faster with the hand that is aligned with the handle of an object. This stimulus-response compatibility (SRC) effect is often taken as evidence supporting the hypothesis that motor representations are activated in response to the visual presentation of tools during conceptual processing. To test this hypothesis, we trained participants to use a set of novel tools (manipulation group) or to report spatial information about the tools (spatial group) in preparation for a Martian archeological dig. We investigated compatibility effects in a conceptual judgment task and a visual discrimination task. Compatibility effects were observed for both groups regardless of experience. These effects were predicted by the salient parts of objects specified by task demands and not by motor experience with the objects. This result provides evidence that compatibility effects with tools reflect a general stimulus-response compatibly effect due to visual attention. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000616DOI Listing
April 2019

Embodied object concepts: The contribution of structural and functional manipulability depends on available visual information.

Can J Exp Psychol 2018 Dec 31;72(4):229-243. Epub 2018 May 31.

Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University.

Object identification is driven, in part, by the extent to which we have sensorimotor experience with the object. Importantly, the activation of embodied object representations depends on contextual information. In the present study, we use a visual masking paradigm to investigate how the availability of visual information modulates the role of manipulability in the representation of object concepts. Using both an object naming task (i.e., linguistic response) and a picture-word matching task (i.e., manual response), we provide evidence that structural manipulability (the ability to pick up an object with one hand) and functional manipulability (the action information that pertains to the ultimate use of the object) have dissociable effects on object identification. In both tasks, the effects of structural manipulability were greater when structural information was available in the image (i.e., when the objects were unmasked); in contrast, the effects of functional manipulability were greater when the objects were masked. Importantly, these effects were not due to object familiarity or the age at which the name of the objects was acquired. Our results are consistent with the activation of the two pathways within the dorsal visual stream that are part of a distributed neural network that represents embodied action information. We extend previous research by showing that visual information determines which type of embodied information drives object identification. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cep0000147DOI Listing
December 2018

Investigating grounded conceptualization: motor system state-dependence facilitates familiarity judgments of novel tools.

Psychol Res 2019 Mar 2;83(2):216-226. Epub 2018 Mar 2.

Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Theories of embodied cognition propose that we recognize tools in part by reactivating sensorimotor representations of tool use in a process of simulation. If motor simulations play a causal role in tool recognition then performing a concurrent motor task should differentially modulate recognition of experienced vs. non-experienced tools. We sought to test the hypothesis that an incompatible concurrent motor task modulates conceptual processing of learned vs. non-learned objects by directly manipulating the embodied experience of participants. We trained one group to use a set of novel, 3-D printed tools under the pretense that they were preparing for an archeological expedition to Mars (manipulation group); we trained a second group to report declarative information about how the tools are stored (storage group). With this design, familiarity and visual attention to different object parts was similar for both groups, though their qualitative interactions differed. After learning, participants made familiarity judgments of auditorily presented tool names while performing a concurrent motor task or simply sitting at rest. We showed that familiarity judgments were facilitated by motor state-dependence; specifically, in the manipulation group, familiarity was facilitated by a concurrent motor task, whereas in the spatial group familiarity was facilitated while sitting at rest. These results are the first to directly show that manipulation experience differentially modulates conceptual processing of familiar vs. unfamiliar objects, suggesting that embodied representations contribute to recognizing tools.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00426-018-0997-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7050595PMC
March 2019

Differential Tuning of Ventral and Dorsal Streams during the Generation of Common and Uncommon Tool Uses.

J Cogn Neurosci 2017 Nov 27;29(11):1791-1802. Epub 2017 Jun 27.

University of Pennsylvania.

Our use of tools is situated in different contexts. Prior evidence suggests that diverse regions within the ventral and dorsal streams represent information supporting common tool use. However, given the flexibility of object concepts, these regions may be tuned to different types of information when generating novel or uncommon uses of tools. To investigate this, we collected fMRI data from participants who reported common or uncommon tool uses in response to visually presented familiar objects. We performed a pattern dissimilarity analysis in which we correlated cortical patterns with behavioral measures of visual, action, and category information. The results showed that evoked cortical patterns within the dorsal tool use network reflected action and visual information to a greater extent in the uncommon use group, whereas evoked neural patterns within the ventral tool use network reflected categorical information more strongly in the common use group. These results reveal the flexibility of cortical representations of tool use and the situated nature of cortical representations more generally.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_01161DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5623132PMC
November 2017

Photographs of manipulable objects are named more quickly than the same objects depicted as line-drawings: Evidence that photographs engage embodiment more than line-drawings.

Front Psychol 2014 21;5:1187. Epub 2014 Oct 21.

Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie University Halifax, NS, Canada.

Previous research has shown that photographs of manipulable objects (i.e., those that can be grasped for use with one hand) are named more quickly than non-manipulable objects when they have been matched for object familiarity and age of acquisition. The current study tested the hypothesis that the amount of visual detail present in object depictions moderates these "manipulability" effects on object naming. The same objects were presented as photographs and line-drawings during a speeded naming task. Forty-six participants named 222 objects depicted in both formats. A significant object depiction (photographs versus line drawing) by manipulability interaction confirmed our hypothesis that manipulable objects are identified more quickly when shown as photographs; whereas, non-manipulable objects are identified equally quickly when shown as photographs versus line-drawings. These results indicate that factors such as surface detail and texture moderate the role of "action" and/or "manipulability" effects during object identification tasks, and suggest that photographs of manipulable objects are associated with more embodied representations of those objects than when they are depicted as line-drawings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01187DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4204636PMC
November 2014

Testing the embodied account of object naming: a concurrent motor task affects naming artifacts and animals.

Acta Psychol (Amst) 2014 Jan 28;145:33-43. Epub 2013 Nov 28.

Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, Life Sciences Center, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4J1, Canada.

Embodied theories of object representation propose that the same neural networks are involved in encoding and retrieving object knowledge. In the present study, we investigated whether motor programs play a causal role in the retrieval of object names. Participants performed an object-naming task while squeezing a sponge with either their right or left hand. The objects were artifacts (e.g. hammer) or animals (e.g. giraffe) and were presented in an orientation that favored a grasp or not. We hypothesized that, if activation of motor programs is necessary to retrieve object knowledge, then concurrent motor activity would interfere with naming manipulable artifacts but not non-manipulable animals. In Experiment 1, we observed naming interference for all objects oriented towards the occupied hand. In Experiment 2, we presented the objects in more 'canonical orientations'. Participants named all objects more quickly when they were oriented towards the occupied hand. Together, these interference/facilitation effects suggest that concurrent motor activity affects naming for both categories. These results also suggest that picture-plane orientation interacts with an attentional bias that is elicited by the objects and their relationship to the occupied hand. These results may be more parsimoniously accounted for by a domain-general attentional effect, constraining the embodied theory of object representations. We suggest that researchers should scrutinize attentional accounts of other embodied cognitive effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.10.012DOI Listing
January 2014

A test of the embodied simulation theory of object perception: potentiation of responses to artifacts and animals.

Psychol Res 2014 Jul 20;78(4):465-82. Epub 2013 Jul 20.

Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, Life Sciences Center, Halifax, NC, B3H 4J1, Canada,

Theories of embodied object representation predict a tight association between sensorimotor processes and visual processing of manipulable objects. Previous research has shown that object handles can 'potentiate' a manual response (i.e., button press) to a congruent location. This potentiation effect is taken as evidence that objects automatically evoke sensorimotor simulations in response to the visual presentation of manipulable objects. In the present series of experiments, we investigated a critical prediction of the theory of embodied object representations that potentiation effects should be observed with manipulable artifacts but not non-manipulable animals. In four experiments we show that (a) potentiation effects are observed with animals and artifacts; (b) potentiation effects depend on the absolute size of the objects and (c) task context influences the presence/absence of potentiation effects. We conclude that potentiation effects do not provide evidence for embodied object representations, but are suggestive of a more general stimulus-response compatibility effect that may depend on the distribution of attention to different object features.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00426-013-0502-zDOI Listing
July 2014

A computer-generated face database with ratings on realism, masculinity, race, and stereotypy.

Behav Res Methods 2011 Mar;43(1):224-8

Department of Psychology/Neuroscience, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4J1, Canada.

Ratings of realism, masculinity, race, and racial stereotypy were collected on a set of computer-generated faces representing European, South East Asian, and African American ethnicities. To determine if these faces are processed in the same way as photographs of real faces, we demonstrated with these faces superior memory performance for upright faces over inverted faces (the face inversion effect). Further, in observers of European decent, we found both superior memory for European faces and a larger inversion effect for European than African American faces. Based on these results, we believe that this set of faces may be of use in perceptual investigations in which race is a critical manipulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13428-010-0029-9DOI Listing
March 2011

Neuropsychological dissociations between motion and form perception suggest functional organization in extrastriate cortical regions in the human brain.

Brain Cogn 2010 Nov 19;74(2):160-8. Epub 2010 Aug 19.

Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, Halifax Nova Scotia, Canada.

In this review of neuropsychological case studies, a number of dissociations are shown between different visual abilities including low-level motion perception, static form perception, form-from-motion perception and biological motion perception. These dissociations reveal counter-intuitive results. Specifically, higher level form-from-motion perception can persist despite deficits in low-level motion perception and static form perception. To account for these dissociations, we present a model of functional organization and identify future directions for investigations of higher order form-from-motion perception.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2010.07.009DOI Listing
November 2010

A contextual effect of 2nd-order configural processing of non-face objects by non-experts.

Perception 2009 ;38(7):1072-86

Department of Psychology/Neuroscience, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4J1, Canada.

We investigated here the detection of 2nd-order configural relations both in faces and in non-face objects. In experiment 1 it was shown that observers were more sensitive to feature displacements in upright faces and houses than in inverted faces and houses. The presence of an inversion effect in the house stimuli suggested that 2nd-order relational processing was applied to the non-face stimuli. In experiment 2, the inversion effect for houses was absent when only houses were presented. In experiment 3, face and house stimuli were once again presented in the same task and inversion effects were again seen for both types of stimuli. Together, these results suggest that 2nd-order relational processing can be flexibly applied to non-face objects when they are presented in the context of faces.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1068/p6134DOI Listing
April 2010