Action Imitation Changes Perceptual Alternations in Binocular RivalryReport as inadecuate

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Binocular rivalry is a visual phenomenon in which perception alternates between two different monocular images presented to each of the two eyes. Here, we propose using this phenomenon as a method to study the relation between action execution and action perception. In our experiment, a simple background a checkerboard was contrasted with a video representing a hand continuously grasping and releasing a ball. In Experiment 1, our subjects were asked to reproduce the perceived movement with their right hand whenever they became aware of it and to stop doing this when the checkerboard dominated. Our results revealed that motor imitation of the perceived action significantly increased the time spent perceiving the hand. Three control experiments showed that these effects were not due to a generic involvement of focused attention Experiment 2 and 3, to a verbal description of the performed action Experiment 3 or to the execution of an unrelated movement of the hand Experiment 4. Although an intrinsic connection between action execution and attention cannot be excluded with certainty, and the boundary between action imitation and unrelated action execution may vary along various degrees of similarity, on the whole, the present results seem to suggest, at least on a preliminary basis, that action imitation do play a relevant role in the perception of action. We discuss these findings in the frame of current theories concerning the relation between perception and action.

Author: Enrico Di Pace , Chiara Saracini



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