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Automatic imitation of intransitive actions

Press, Clare and Bird, Geoffrey and Walsh, E. and Heyes, C. (2008) Automatic imitation of intransitive actions. Brain and Cognition 67 (1), pp. 44-50. ISSN 0278-2626.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2007.11.001

Abstract

Previous research has indicated a potential discontinuity between monkey and human ventral premotor-parietal mirror systems, namely that monkey mirror systems process only transitive (object-directed) actions, whereas human mirror systems may also process intransitive (non-object-directed) actions. The present study investigated this discontinuity by seeking evidence of automatic imitation of intransitive actions—hand opening and closing—in humans using a simple reaction time (RT), stimulus–response compatibility paradigm. Left–right and up–down spatial compatibility were controlled by ensuring that stimuli were presented and responses executed in orthogonal planes, and automatic imitation was isolated from simple and complex orthogonal spatial compatibility by varying the anatomical identity of the stimulus hand and response hemispace, respectively. In all conditions, action compatible responding was faster than action incompatible responding, and no effects of spatial compatibility were observed. This experiment therefore provides evidence of automatic imitation of intransitive actions, and support for the hypothesis that human and monkey mirror systems differ with respect to the processing of intransitive actions.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Imitation, Stimulus–response compatibility, Spatial compatibility, Mirror system, Action observation
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2012 09:19
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:26
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/5554

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