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Self-recognition of action: The role of similarity and simulation

Dr. Gunther Knoblich

Thursday, December 02, 2004, 12:00pm - 07:00pm

Max Planck Institute, Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

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�Although identifying and interpreting perceived actions is one of the most fundamental human abilities, this ability has long been neglected in the cognitive, social and neurosciences. Recently however, it has turned into a central research topic in these disciplines. A crucial question in the domain of action perception is how we can identify our own actions and tell them apart from the actions of others. In the first part of my talk I will present new fMRI results which show that intentions and action simulations contribute to identifying the perceptual consequences of one's own current actions. In the second part of the talk I will propose that action simulations might also play a prominent role in perceiving the actions of others, and I will postulate a similarity based matching system for perception and action. Several studies provide support for both assumptions. The two principles of similarity and simulation suggest that the way one perceives an action is fundamentally related to how one would perform it.

Dr. Gunther Knoblich