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Semantic_memory is knowledge about everyday objects in the world. Much of the literature that explores semantic_memory does so using everyday objects (e.g., bananas, forks, hammers). While everyone probably has substantial knowledge of these objects, this knowledge can be confounded by familiarity or experience with the tested objects.
Thus, being able to model 3D novel_objects (which have not been experienced by anyone) with a 3D printer is one logical and innovative extension to explore the neural bases of semantic_memory further. This approach has numerous benefits. First, it allows us to create new objects and control the amount and type of experience that subjects will have with the objects. Second, the novel_objects can be objectively manipulated along a number of dimensions (e.g., doubling or tripling an object’s size, or altering shape by changing a sphere to a cube). Third, these projects are often not feasible elsewhere because of the extensive (and expensive) resources required, putting use of a 3D printer at the forefront of cognitive neuroscience research. Lastly, once built from the printer, this approach lets us to physically put the novel_objects in the hands of our subjects, allowing them to multimodally about the objects in a controlled environment.
So, a 3D_printer allows us to create new objects that we can manipulate in numerous ways. Following experience with these objects, we can then apply behavioral and/or neuroimaging methods to see how behavior or brain activity changes as a function of learning about new objects in the world.
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