Imagery in Action at the ESRC Festival of Social Science

Patric teamed up with Linda Solbrig for an event about how people can better control their behaviour. Lots of hands on demos: take part in hypnosis demonstrations, play with a "psychic" pendulum and the Ouija Board, and learn how to achieve your long term goals. Event hosted by Plymouth University academics Patric Bach and Linda Solbrig, on Saturday 4th of November, in the central library:

Flier header.png

New paper!

Testing the Motor Simulation Account of Source Errors for Actions in Recall

Observing someone else perform an action can lead to false memories of self-performance – the observation inflation effect. One explanation is that action simulation via mirror neuron activation during action observation is responsible for observation inflation by enriching memories of observed actions with motor representations. In three experiments we investigated this account of source memory failures, using a novel paradigm that minimized influences of verbalization and prior object knowledge. Participants worked in pairs to take turns acting out geometric shapes and letters. The next day, participants recalled either actions they had performed or those they had observed. Experiment 1 showed that participants falsely retrieved observed actions as self-performed, but also retrieved self-performed actions as observed. Experiment 2 showed that preventing participants from encoding observed actions motorically by taxing their motor system with a concurrent motor task did not lead to the predicted decrease in false claims of self-performance. Indeed, Experiment 3 showed that this was the case even if participants were asked to carefully monitor their recall. Because our data provide no evidence for a motor activation account, we also discussed our results in light of a source monitoring account.

Lange, N., Hollins, T.J., Bach, P. (2017). Testing the Motor Simulation Account of Source Errors for Actions in Recall. Frontiers in Psychology. Publisher -- PDF


New (theoretical) paper by Patric and Kim!

Predictive social perception: Towards a unifying framework from action observation to person knowledge

Action observation is central to human social interaction. It allows people to derive what mental states drive others' behaviour and coordinate (and compete) effectively with them. Although previous accounts have conceptualised this ability in terms of bottom-up (motoric or conceptual) matching processes, more recent evidence suggests that such mechanisms cannot account for the complexity and uncertainty of the sensory input, even in cases where computations should be much simpler (i.e., low-level vision). It has therefore been argued that perception in general, and social perception in particular, is better described as a process of top–down hypothesis testing. In such models, any assumption about others—their goals, attitudes, and beliefs—is translated into predictions of expected sensory input and compared with incoming stimulation. This allows perception and action to be based on these expectations or—in case of a mismatch—for one's prior assumptions to be revised until they are better aligned with the individual's behaviour. This article will give a (selective) review of recent research from experimental psychology and (social) neuroscience that supports such views, discuss the relevant underlying models, and current gaps in research. In particular, it will argue that much headway can be made when current research on predictive social perception is integrated with classic findings from social psychology, which have already shown striking effects of prior knowledge on the processing of other people's behaviour.

Bach, P., & Schenke, K. C. (2017). Predictive social perception: Towards a unifying framework from action observation to person knowledge. Social and Personality Psychology Compass11(7).

"Gold" open access full text here.

New paper by Matt, Toby and Patric

You Said You Would! The Predictability of Other's Behavior From Their Intentions Determines Predictive Biases in Action Perception.

The perception of an action is shifted farther along the observed trajectory if the observer has prior knowledge of the actor's intention. This intention-action prediction effect is explained by predictive perception models, wherein sensory input is interpreted in light of expectancies. This study altered the precision of the prediction by varying the predictability of the action from the intention, to increase/decrease the predictive perceptual bias. Participants heard an actor state an intention ("I'll take it"/"I'll leave it") before the actor reached or withdrew from an object, thus confirming or contradicting the intention. The intention was predictive of the action (75% congruency) for one group and counterpredictive (25%) for another. The action disappeared midmovement and participants estimated the disappearance position. The intention-action prediction effect was greater if the intention was predictive than if counterpredictive. However, participants needed to explicitly know the predictability rates (Experiments 1 and 3). No group differences emerged when both groups believed the intention was nonpredictive (Experiment 2a), nor when a nonpredictive intention was believed to be (counter)predictive (Experiment 2b). The perception of others behavior is determined by its predictability from their intentions, and the precision of our social predictions is adapted to individual differences in behavior

Hudson, M., Bach, P., & Nicholson, T. (2017). You Said You Would! The Predictability of Other’s Behavior From Their Intentions Determines Predictive Biases in Action Perception.

"Green" open access here