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Meeting Abstract

Action Recognition Across Different Cultures


Chang,  D-S
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Chang, D.-S. (2015). Action Recognition Across Different Cultures. In Diversity of Social Cognition: Workshop on the Universality and Variability of Social Cognitive Processing (pp. 5-6).

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-8BEE-8
The way we use social actions in everyday life to interact with other people differs across various cultures. Can this cultural specificity of social interactions be already observed in perceptual processes underlying the visual recognition of actions? We investigated whether there were any differences in action recognition between Germans and Koreans using a visual adaptation paradigm. German (n=24, male=10, female=14) and Korean (n=24, male=13, female=11) participants first had to recognize and describe four different social actions (handshake, punch, wave, fist-bump) presented as brief movies of point-light-stimuli. The actions handshake, punch and wave are commonly known in both cultures, but fist bump is largely unknown in Korea. In an adaptation aftereffect experiment, participants had to categorize the actions in a 2AFC task. We measured to what degree each of the four adaptors biased the perception of the presented actions for German and Korean participants. The actions handshake, punch and wave were correctly recognized by both Germans and Koreans, but most Koreans failed to recognize the correct meaning of a fistbump. However, Germans and Koreans showed a remarkable similarity in the pattern of aftereffects. These results imply a surprising consistency and robustness of action recognition processes across different cultures.