February 28, 2021

Architectural Affordance Impacts Human Sensorimotor Brain Dynamics

Action is a medium of collecting sensory information about the environment, which in turn is shaped by architectural affordances. Affordances characterize the fit between the physical structure of the body and capacities for movement and interaction with the environment, thus relying on sensorimotor processes associated with exploring the surroundings. Central to sensorimotor brain dynamics, the attentional mechanisms directing the gating function of sensory signals share neuronal resources with motor-related processes necessary to inferring the external causes of sensory signals. Such a predictive coding approach suggests that sensorimotor dynamics are sensitive to architectural affordances that support or suppress specific kinds of actions for an individual. However, how architectural affordances relate to the attentional mechanisms underlying the gating function for sensory signals remains unknown. Here we demonstrate that event-related desynchronization of alpha-band oscillations in parieto-occipital and medio-temporal regions covary with the architectural affordances. Source-level time-frequency analysis of data recorded in a motor-priming Mobile Brain/Body Imaging experiment revealed strong event-related desynchronization of the alpha band to originate from the posterior cingulate complex and bilateral parahippocampal areas. Our results firstly contribute to the understanding of how the brain resolves architectural affordances relevant to behaviour. Second, our results indicate that the alpha-band originating from the posterior cingulate complex covaries with the architectural affordances before participants interact with the environment. During the interaction, the bilateral parahippocampal areas dynamically reflect the affordable behaviour as perceived through the visual system. We conclude that the sensorimotor dynamics are developed for processing behaviour-relevant features in the designed environment.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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