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The face of actions: Evidence for neural action recognition processes being sensitive for facial identity

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de la Rosa,  S
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Project group: Social & Spatial Cognition, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons214603

Ferstl,  Y
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons83839

Bülthoff,  HH
Project group: Cybernetics Approach to Perception & Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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de la Rosa, S., Ferstl, Y., & Bülthoff, H. (2016). The face of actions: Evidence for neural action recognition processes being sensitive for facial identity. Poster presented at 39th European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP 2016), Barcelona, Spain.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-7B14-0
Abstract
Accurately associating an action with its actor’s identity is fundamental for many – if not all- social cognitive functions. What are the visual processes supporting this ability? Previous research suggest separate neural substrates are supporting the recognition of facial identity and actions. Here we revisited this widely held assumption and examined the sensitivity of neural action recognition processes to facial identity using behavioral adaptation. We reasoned that if action recognition and facial identity were mediated by independent visual processes then action adaptation effects should not be modulated by the actor’s facial identity. We used action morphing and an augmented reality setup to examine the neural correlates of action recognition processes within an action adaptation paradigm under close-to-natural conditions. Contrary to the hypothesis that action recognition and facial identity are processed independently, we showed in three experiments that action adaptation effects in an action categorization tasks are modulated by facial identity and not by clothing. These findings strongly suggest that action recognition processes are sensitive to facial identity and thereby indicate a close link between actions and facial identity. Such identity sensitive action recognition mechanisms might support the fundamental social cognitive skill of associating an action with the actor’s identity.