The social nature of perception and action
SourceCurrent Directions in Psychological Science, 153, (2006), pp. 99-104
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC CO
Current Directions in Psychological Science
SubjectAction, intention, and motor control
Humans engage in a wide range of social activities. Previous research has focused on the role of higher cognitive functions, such as mentalizing (the ability to infer others' mental states) and language processing, in social exchange. This article reviews recent studies on action perception and joint action suggesting that basic perception-action links are crucial for many social interactions. Mapping perceived actions to one's own action repertoire enables direct understanding of others' actions and supports action identification. Joint action relies on shared action representations and involves modeling of others' performance in relation to one's own. Taking the social nature of perception and action seriously not only contributes to the understanding of dedicated social processes but has the potential to create a new perspective on the individual mind and brain.
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