Action alters object identification: Wielding a gun increases the bias to see guns.

Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University.
Journal of Experimental Psychology Human Perception & Performance (Impact Factor: 2.4). 04/2012; 38(5):1159-67. DOI: 10.1037/a0027881
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Stereotypes, expectations, and emotions influence an observer's ability to detect and categorize objects as guns. In light of recent work in action-perception interactions, however, there is another unexplored factor that may be critical: The action choices available to the perceiver. In five experiments, participants determined whether another person was holding a gun or a neutral object. Critically, the participant did this while holding and responding with either a gun or a neutral object. Responding with a gun biased observers to report "gun present" more than did responding with a ball. Thus, by virtue of affording a perceiver the opportunity to use a gun, he or she was more likely to classify objects in a scene as a gun and, as a result, to engage in threat-induced behavior (raising a firearm to shoot). In addition to theoretical implications for event perception and object identification, these findings have practical implications for law enforcement and public safety. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).

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    ABSTRACT: Physiological and emotional states can affect our decision-making processes, even when these states are seemingly insignificant to the decision at hand. We examined whether posture and postural threat affect decisions in a non-related economic domain. Healthy young adults made a series of choices between economic lotteries in various conditions, including changes in body posture (sitting vs. standing) and changes in elevation (ground level vs. atop a 0.8-meter-high platform). We compared three metrics between conditions to assess changes in risk-sensitivity: frequency of risky choices, and parameter fits of both utility and probability weighting parameters using cumulative prospect theory. We also measured skin conductance level to evaluate physiological response to the postural threat. Our results demonstrate that body posture does not significantly affect decision making. Secondly, despite increased skin conductance level, economic risk-sensitivity was unaffected by increased threat. Our findings indicate that economic choices are fairly robust to the physiological and emotional changes that result from posture or postural threat.
    PeerJ. 01/2014; 2:e475.


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May 30, 2014