Concurrently Observed Actions Are Represented Not as Compound Actions but as Independent Actions

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Recent research suggests that we can simultaneously represent the actions of multiple agents in our motor system. However, it is unclear exactly how concurrently observed actions are represented. Here, we tested two competing hypotheses. According to the independence hypothesis, concurrently observed actions are represented as independent actions. According to the compound hypothesis, they are instead integrated, whenever possible, into compound actions. In Experiment 1 (N = 32), we first show that the standard imitation-inhibition task with a single hand can be extended to measure automatic imitation of compound actions. In Experiments 2–5 (NTotal = 368), we then investigated the representation of concurrently observed actions by further extending this task to include two hands. The results showed that two hands performing two different actions (e.g., one hand lifts index finger, one hand lifts middle finger) produced an effect similar to that of both hands performing just one of those actions (e.g., both hands lift index finger) but different from that of both hands performing both actions together (i.e., a compound action; lift both index and middle finger). This indicates that concurrently observed actions are coded as independent actions in the motor system.

ZeitschriftJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Seiten (von - bis)1172-1185
Anzahl der Seiten14
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.11.2022
Extern publiziertJa

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