Action, verbal response and spatial reasoning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies have shown that perception of distance, orientation and size can be dissociated from action tasks. The action system seems to possess more veridical, unbiased information than the perceptual/verbal system. The current study examines the nature of the distinction between action and verbal responses in a spatial reasoning task. Participants imagined themselves facing different orientations and either pointed to where other objects would be, or verbally reported their egocentric directions (e.g., "50 degrees to my left"). When using pointing responses, RT and error increased as a function of the angular disparity between the imagined heading and their actual heading. However, when using verbal responses, performance was not affected by angular disparity, suggesting that participants knew the direction of the targets from the imagined perspective but could not point to them directly. The verbal and action systems have fundamentally different information or processes rather than quantitatively different ones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Perception and action
  • Perspective change
  • Spatial reasoning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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