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Ava J. Senkfor; Creating and shaping Body-action space. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):1146. doi: 10.1167/9.8.1146.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Social and non-social contexts play a significant, but unclear, role in our everyday perceptions of people in action. In addition, attention to the space surrounding our hands and faces serve critical roles in our understanding of actions, intentions, and social communications. However, it is unknown how the space within our arms and hands reach influence action perceptions and how that space is modulated when it carries social information. Across multiple experiments, social and non-social contexts were integrated into human movement patterns. Participants compared animation pairs of a person's upper body movement patterns (hand and arm) and the relative distances traversed. Movement patterns, movement direction, and distances were varied. Accuracy levels differed across movement patterns. The body context expanded the ability to detect distances from movement direction as well as improve accuracy for smaller differences in distances. Social contexts enlarged the accuracy space created by the body alone. Accuracy space was further modulated by movement direction information from the social contexts. In sum, the body serves as a non-social context which improves distance judgments of movement patterns. The improvement may be attributed to the formulation of what is referred to here as “Body-action space”. Social contexts appear to further expand and reshape the Body-action space. The formulation and utilization of Body-action space is proposed here, as well as how social cognitions tune this space.
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