Recent frameworks propose that perceptual anticipations underlie both volitional action and social perception. On this view, actions are initiated by forming a strong enough mental image of the consequences (body movements, effects in the environment) one wants to achieve. Similarly, the behaviour of others may be understood if it matches the mental image of what we expect them to do (if they really have the goals we attribute to them). I will describe several studies from our lab that test these proposals. They show, first, that inserting strong enough mental images of actions is sufficient to cause people to execute actions that they intended to withhold. Second, they reveal that the perception of others’ actions is guided by perceptual anticipations of forthcoming actions, which can be made visible as subtle distortions to a perceived action’s path towards those expectations. Finally, I will present first data that perceptual expectations of another’s sensory input – how the world looks to them – may underlie people’s ability to take others’ perspective.
- Patric Bach, Action Prediction Lab, University of Plymouth
- Hosted by
- School of Psychology
- William Guild Building