Perception of action-outcomes is shaped by life-long and contextual expectations
Number of pages
SourceScientific Reports, 9, (2019), article 5225
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC SMN
SubjectAction, intention, and motor control
The way humans perceive the outcomes of their actions is strongly colored by their expectations. These expectations can develop over different timescales and are not always complementary. The present work examines how long-term (structural) expectations - developed over a lifetime - and short-term (contextual) expectations jointly affect perception. In two studies, including a pre-registered replication, participants initiated the movement of an ambiguously rotating sphere by operating a rotary switch. In the absence of any learning, participants predominantly perceived the sphere to rotate in the same direction as their rotary action. This bias toward structural expectations was abolished (but not reversed) when participants were exposed to incompatible action-effect contingencies (e.g., clockwise actions causing counterclockwise percepts) during a preceding learning phase. Exposure to compatible action-effect contingencies, however, did not add to the existing structural bias. Together, these findings reveal that perception of action-outcomes results from the combined influence of both long-term and immediate expectations.
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