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Automatic imitation of multiple agents : simultaneous or random representation?

Emiel Cracco (UGent) and Marcel Brass (UGent)
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Abstract
Research has shown that the observation of another’s movement activates the corresponding motor representation in the observer. However, it is largely unknown how activation of these shared representations is influenced by the number of observed agents. In recent work, we have studied automatic imitation while participants saw two hands of which either one hand or both hands made a movement. These studies found that two hands produced a stronger imitative response than a single hand when the hands made an identical movement but not when they made different movements. It was argued that identical movements were mapped onto the same motor representation and therefore produced a stronger motor response. Nevertheless, an alternative explanation is that participants randomly represented one hand on each trial. The goal of the current study was to disentangle these two hypotheses. In Experiments 1 and 2, we replicate our results using a stimulus setup that made random sampling unlikely. In Experiment 3, we show that an additive effect was still present when attention was directed to one hand that always made a movement. Finally, in Experiment 4, we show that intentional imitation of one hand did not preclude automatic imitation of a second hand. Together, these findings support the hypothesis that the actions of multiple persons can be represented together in the motor system.
Keywords
motor simulation, shared representations, automatic imitation, multiple agents, groups

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MLA
Cracco, Emiel, and Marcel Brass. “Automatic Imitation of Multiple Agents : Simultaneous or Random Representation?” JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-HUMAN PERCEPTION AND PERFORMANCE 44.5 (2018): 729–740. Print.
APA
Cracco, E., & Brass, M. (2018). Automatic imitation of multiple agents : simultaneous or random representation? JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-HUMAN PERCEPTION AND PERFORMANCE, 44(5), 729–740.
Chicago author-date
Cracco, Emiel, and Marcel Brass. 2018. “Automatic Imitation of Multiple Agents : Simultaneous or Random Representation?” Journal of Experimental Psychology-human Perception and Performance 44 (5): 729–740.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Cracco, Emiel, and Marcel Brass. 2018. “Automatic Imitation of Multiple Agents : Simultaneous or Random Representation?” Journal of Experimental Psychology-human Perception and Performance 44 (5): 729–740.
Vancouver
1.
Cracco E, Brass M. Automatic imitation of multiple agents : simultaneous or random representation? JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-HUMAN PERCEPTION AND PERFORMANCE. 2018;44(5):729–40.
IEEE
[1]
E. Cracco and M. Brass, “Automatic imitation of multiple agents : simultaneous or random representation?,” JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-HUMAN PERCEPTION AND PERFORMANCE, vol. 44, no. 5, pp. 729–740, 2018.
@article{8538853,
  abstract     = {{Research has shown that the observation of another’s movement activates the corresponding motor representation in the observer. However, it is largely unknown how activation of these shared representations is influenced by the number of observed agents. In recent work, we have studied automatic imitation while participants saw two hands of which either one hand or both hands made a movement. These studies found that two hands produced a stronger imitative response than a single hand when the hands made an identical movement but not when they made different movements. It was argued that identical movements were mapped onto the same motor representation and therefore produced a stronger motor response. Nevertheless, an alternative explanation is that participants randomly represented one hand on each trial. The goal of the current study was to disentangle these two hypotheses. In Experiments 1 and 2, we replicate our results using a stimulus setup that made random sampling unlikely. In Experiment 3, we show that an additive effect was still present when attention was directed to one hand that always made a movement. Finally, in Experiment 4, we show that intentional imitation of one hand did not preclude automatic imitation of a second hand. Together, these findings support the hypothesis that the actions of multiple persons can be represented together in the motor system.}},
  author       = {{Cracco, Emiel and Brass, Marcel}},
  issn         = {{0096-1523}},
  journal      = {{JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-HUMAN PERCEPTION AND PERFORMANCE}},
  keywords     = {{motor simulation,shared representations,automatic imitation,multiple agents,groups}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{5}},
  pages        = {{729--740}},
  title        = {{Automatic imitation of multiple agents : simultaneous or random representation?}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000489}},
  volume       = {{44}},
  year         = {{2018}},
}

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