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Journal Article

Observing human interaction with physical devices

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Massen,  Cristina
Department Psychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Massen_2009.pdf
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Citation

Massen, C. (2009). Observing human interaction with physical devices. Experimental Brain Research, 199(1), 49-58. doi:10.1007/s00221-009-1971-6.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-CDB7-D
Abstract
Previous study has shown that if we observe another person operating a tool or physical device, then the action rule of the observed action is automatically activated and can subsequently facilitate own actions. In this study, the mechanisms responsible for this automatic priming of actions are investigated. In two experiments, the question is raised whether priming arises from the observation of the physical device and its movements, or whether it is modulated by aspects of the person’s behaviour. Whereas experiment 1 shows that priming effects are not influenced by the effector used by the observed person, experiment 2 demonstrates that they are modulated by the handle (and associated action rule) that is used to operate the device. These results suggest that motor resonance mechanisms are sensitive to the specific interaction between movements of an actor and associated movements of a physical device.