NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ882607
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
When Do We Simulate Non-Human Agents? Dissociating Communicative and Non-Communicative Actions
Liepelt, Roman; Prinz, Wolfgang; Brass, Marcel
Cognition, v115 n3 p426-434 Jun 2010
There is strong evidence that we automatically simulate observed behavior in our motor system. Previous research suggests that this simulation process depends on whether we observe a human or a non-human agent. Measuring a motor priming effect, this study investigated the question of whether agent-sensitivity of motor simulation depends on the specific action observed. Participants saw pictures depicting end positions of different actions on a screen. All postures featured either a human or non-human agent. Participants had to produce the matching action with their left or right hand depending on the hand presented on the screen. Three different actions were displayed: a communicative action (emblem), a transitive (goal-directed) action and an intransitive action. We found motor priming effects of similar size for human and non-human agents for transitive and intransitive actions. However, the motor priming effect for communicative actions was present for the human agent, but absent for the non-human agent. These findings suggest that biological tuning of motor simulation is highly action-selective and depends on whether the observed behavior appears to be driven by a reasonable goal. (Contains 5 figures and 2 tables.)
Elsevier. 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32887-4800. Tel: 877-839-7126; Tel: 407-345-4020; Fax: 407-363-1354; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A