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Meeting Abstract

From action observation to social interaction: Top-down influences on motor interactions


de la Rosa,  S
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Cañal-Bruland, R., & de la Rosa, S. (2015). From action observation to social interaction: Top-down influences on motor interactions. Perception, 44(ECVP Abstract Supplement), 264.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-4508-1
When shaking hands or catching a ball, humans not only need to perceive, understand and predict the interacting partner’s actions, but also timely coordinate their own actions to successfully interact. Thus far, such social interactions have typically been investigated using paradigms that neglected the active part of the so-called observer; that is, participants passively observed the confederate’s action without actively reacting to or interacting with the observed action. This raises the question to what degree findings from passive observation experiments are transferable to situations in which participants actively engage in motor interactions. Secondly, predictions of an observed action are not only informed by online visual information, but are often influenced by prior assumptions and expectations. Therefore, the second question we address is to what degree motor control in social interactions is mediated by top-down influences. We present a series of studies examining the processes of social perception and action in truly interactive experimental setups. The results of these studies support the ecological validity of earlier findings and they show that prior expectations powerfully influence/ bias motor control in social interactions. We advocate the use virtual reality to create interactive setups that are under high experimental control and allow natural interactions.