The Predictive Chameleon: Evidence for Anticipated Social Action: OBSERVATION

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Abstract

Extensive research has demonstrated that movement observation leads to an activation of a corresponding motor representation in the observer. Recent theoretical accounts have put forward the idea that such motor simulation serves an anticipatory function. In line with this assumption, the results from 2 experiments indicate that merely observing an event in someone else (e.g., nose wrinkling) triggers the anticipated action in the observer (e.g., nose scratching). Moreover, extending recent findings on ideomotor action, our second experiment suggests that this anticipated action effect is based on inferring the other person's desire to act. Thus, our research demonstrates the existence of a link between inferring another person's desire to move and the release of an action that matches this desire. Theoretical implications are discussed.

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