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Victoria C. Brattan, Daniel H. Baker, Steven P. Tipper; Visual and motor priming effects on prediction of observed action in the first and third person perspectives. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):831. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/14.10.831.
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Much evidence demonstrates the existence of a neural network of action-observation shared representations (Rizzolatti & Craighero, 2004). It has been posited that this action-observation network (AON) allows us to draw upon one's own motor repertoire to facilitate prediction and interpretation of others' actions (Wilson & Knoblich, 2005). If the network's function is specifically for social understanding, then action observation should be more accurate in a third-person perspective (3PP) compared to a first-person perspective (1PP). In Experiment 1, participants viewed short action sequences of transitive actions; a hand reaching towards, grasping and removing an object from a table. The action was transiently occluded for 500ms, after which the sequence continued with an offset of between -200ms and 200ms. Participants responded whether the continuation of the action began from a point that was earlier or later than expected. Fitting logistic functions to participants' responses demonstrated no significant difference in the point of subjective equality (PSE) between the 1PP and 3PP observed actions. In Experiment 2, prior to the same computer task, the 3PP action was primed by participants observing the experimenter perform the transitive actions. This produced an overall improvement in accuracy, but again there was no difference in PSE between perspectives. In Experiment 3, participants performed the actions themselves before completing the same task. This produced a significant difference in PSEs for 1PP and 3PP observed actions (t(23) =-2.7, p = .01), with motor priming preferentially improving temporal prediction of actions observed in the 1PP. The findings suggest visual experience may predominantly be used to aid prediction of 3-PP actions, whilst the predictive mechanisms of the AON draw on the motor repertoire of the observer to facilitate predictions of 1PP actions. The study thus questions the notion that motor experience aids prediction of others' actions.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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