Psychology Ph.D. Dissertations


Do Cognitive Resources Play a Role in Object Functionality and Affordance Effects when Computing Spatial Relations?

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Dale Klopfer, PhD (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Mary Hare, PhD (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Dara Musher-Eizenman, PhD (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Jane Chang, PhD (Committee Member)


Participants viewed an object with two functional sides (e.g., toothbrush: bristles interact with other objects such as toothpaste; handle allows for interaction between participant and object). The reference object (e.g., toothbrush) was presented with one located object (e.g., toothpaste) at six different locations, and participants completed a sentence-picture verification task (e.g., responding yes/no to “the toothpaste is above the toothbrush”). Previous research by Carlson et al. (2006), suggested facilitation for located objects on the side that allows for interaction between two objects, which they theorized was moderated by attention. Tucker and Ellis (1998), using a bimanual response, found facilitation for the handle side of the object. The current study used a vocal response, a bimanual response, and a spatial distractor task to determine the role of cognitive resources in these facilitation effects; however, little-to-no evidence of each facilitation effect was found.