Studies using functional imaging show reliable activation of premotor cortex when observers view manipulable objects. This result has led to the view that knowledge of object function, particularly the actions associated with the typical use of objects, may play a causal role in object identification. To obtain relevant evidence regarding this causal role, we asked subjects to learn gesture-color associations and then attempt to identify objects presented in colors denoting functional gestures that were congruent or incongruent with the objects' use. A strong congruency effect was observed when subjects gestured the use of an object, but not when they named an object. We conclude that our procedure constitutes a sensitive measure of the recruitment and causal role of functional knowledge and that this recruitment is not present during object naming. Preliminary evidence, however, indicates that gestures evoked by the volumetric shape of an object do contribute to object naming.