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Perceiving bodies in motion: Expression intensity, empathy, and experience

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Sevdalis,  Vassilis
Max Planck Research Group Music Cognition and Action, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Keller,  Peter E.
Max Planck Research Group Music Cognition and Action, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Music Cognition and Action Group, The MARCS Institute, University of Western Sydney, Australia;

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Citation

Sevdalis, V., & Keller, P. E. (2012). Perceiving bodies in motion: Expression intensity, empathy, and experience. Experimental Brain Research, 222(4), 447-453. doi:10.1007/s00221-012-3229-y.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-E75F-6
Abstract
This study investigated the perceptual identification of individuals’ intended expression intensity in point-light displays depicting dance. Participants watched point-light displays of 200–1,000-ms duration, as well as static displays, of expressive and inexpressive dance performances. The task was to identify the intended expression intensity of the performer. The results indicate that expression intensity could be discerned reliably only from dynamic displays, even when they were as short as 200 ms, though the accuracy of judgments increased with exposure duration. Judgment accuracy for dynamic displays was positively correlated with self-report empathy indices and confidence in judgments. Accuracy for these displays also correlated with indices of informal music and dance experience. The findings are discussed in relation to sensorimotor and cognitive-emotional processes underlying action understanding and social cognition.