Daniel Bub

Daniel Bub
Office: COR A185

PhD 1982 (Rochester) joined Department in 1994

Area of expertise

Cognition and brain sciences

Motor representations form part of our knowledge of everyday objects like calculators and spray-cans. There is increasing evidence that such representations, determining our ability to hold and use manipulable objects, are invoked dynamically during language and perceptual tasks. For example, spatial attention is modulated in unexpected ways when observers view graspable objects.

The computational role played by higher level motor systems in cognition is therefore of fundamental interest, as is the nature of the processes that determine a particular hand representation in a given task context. Any manipulable object affords a range of familiar actions. For example, we learn to pick up or move a pocket calculator with an inverted open grasp, but we learn to use it according to its conventional function by poking the keys with an extended forefinger.

Dr. Bub has developed a novel experimental method to assess the evocation of specific hand action representations to words, objects or sentences in real time. This approach requires subjects to carry out speeded reach and grasp actions on an eight-element response apparatus. Each element affords a unique action and subjects learn to produce a given manual action in response to a visual cue. He and his team then measure the influence of an object, word or sentence (a priming event) on reach and grasp performance, time-locked to the visual cue, yielding evidence on the nature and time course of the motor representations evoked by the priming event.

This research provides valuable convergent methods that will clarify evidence available from functional imaging research and from neuropsychology.


  • Cognitive neuropsychology


Masson, M. E. J., Bub, D. N., & Breuer, A. T. (in press). Priming of reach and grasp actions by handled objects. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.

Bub, D. N., & Masson, M. E. J. (2010). On the nature of hand-action representations evoked during written sentence comprehension. Cognition, 116, 394-408.

Bub, D. N., & Masson, M. E. J. (2010). Grasping beer mugs: On the dynamics of alignment effects induced by handled objects. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 36, 341-35.

Gauthier, I.G., Bub, D.N. and Tarr, M.J.(2009) Perceptual Expertise: Bridging Brain and Behavior, a new volume in advances in visual cognition series, Oxford University Press.