Objects rapidly prime the motor system when located near the dominant hand.
The relation between attractiveness and motor affordance is a key topic in design and has not yet been investigated electrophysiologically. In this respect, action affordance and attractiveness represent two crucial dimensions in object processing (specifically for tools). In light of this evidence, Event Related Potentials (ERPs) enabled us to gain new insights into the time course of the interaction between these two dimensions during an explicit tool evaluation task. Behaviorally, tools that were judged as high affording and high attractive yielded faster response times than those judged as low affording and low attractive. The ERP results showed that early processes related to sensory gating and feature extraction (N100) were sensitive to both affordance and attractiveness; the P200 was dominated by affordance, indexing a facilitated access to motor action representation. The N300, P300 and the Late Positive Potential (LPP) showed enhanced responses for highly affording/attractive tools, reflecting the interconnection between attractiveness and affordance. Later responses were entirely affected by attractiveness, suggesting additional affective responses evoked by desirable tools. We are showing that things that are perceived as more functional and attractive have a privileged neural activation in the time course of tool evaluation, for the first time.