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Moving higher and higher: imitators’ movements are sensitive to observed trajectories regardless of action rationality

Humans sometimes perform actions which, at least superficially, appear suboptimal to the goal they are trying to achieve. Despite being able to identify these irrational actions from an early age, humans display a curious tendency to copy them. The current study recorded participants’ movements during an established imitation task and manipulated the rationality of the observed ...

Audience effects: what can they tell us about social neuroscience, theory of mind and autism?

An audience effect arises when a person’s behaviour changes because they believe someone else is watching them. Though these effects have been known about for over 110 years, the cognitive mechanisms of the audience effect and how it might vary across different populations and cultures remains unclear. In this review, we examine the hypothesis that the audience effect draws on ...

Brief Report: A Comparison of the Preference for Viewing Social and Non-social Movies in Typical and Autistic Adolescents

The recently proposed Social Motivation theory (Chevallier et al., Trends in cognitive sciences 16(4):231–239, 2012) suggests that social difficulties in Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) might be caused by a difference in the motivation to engage with other people. Here we compared adolescents with (N = 31) and without (N = 37) ASC on the Choose-a-Movie paradigm that measures the ...

Reduced Mimicry to Virtual Reality Avatars in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Mimicry involves unconsciously copying the actions of others. Increasing evidence suggests that autistic people can copy the goal of an observed action but show differences in their mimicry. We investigated mimicry in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) within a two-dimensional virtual reality environment. Participants played an imitation game with a socially engaged avatar and socially ...

STORMy Interactions: Gaze and the Modulation of Mimicry in Adults on the Autism Spectrum

Mimicry involves unconsciously imitating the actions of others and is a powerful and ubiquitous behavior in social interactions. There has been a long debate over whether mimicry is abnormal in people with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) and what the causes of any differences might be. Wang and Hamilton’s (2012) social top-down response modulation (STORM) model proposed that ...

Status and Power Do Not Modulate Automatic Imitation of Intransitive Hand Movements

The tendency to mimic the behaviour of others is affected by a variety of social factors, and it has been argued that such “mirroring” is often unconsciously deployed as a means of increasing affiliation during interpersonal interactions. However, the relationship between automatic motor imitation and status/power is currently unclear. This paper reports five experiments that ...

The Responses of Medical General Practitioners to Unreasonable Patient Demand for Antibiotics - A Study of Medical Ethics Using Immersive Virtual Reality

Background Dealing with insistent patient demand for antibiotics is an all too common part of a General Practitioner’s daily routine. This study explores the extent to which portable Immersive Virtual Reality technology can help us gain an accurate understanding of the factors that influence a doctor’s response to the ethical challenge underlying such tenacious requests for ...

The Social Modulation of Imitation Fidelity in School-Age Children

Children copy the actions of others with high fidelity, even when they are not causally relevant. This copying of visibly unnecessary actions is termed overimitation. Many competing theories propose mechanisms for overimitation behaviour. The present study examines these theories by studying the social factors that lead children to overimitate actions. Ninety-four children aged 5- ...

Understanding the Role of the ‘Self’ in the Social Priming of Mimicry

People have a tendency to unconsciously mimic other's actions. This mimicry has been regarded as a prosocial response which increases social affiliation. Previous research on social priming of mimicry demonstrated an assimilative relationship between mimicry and prosociality of the primed construct: prosocial primes elicit stronger mimicry whereas antisocial primes decrease ...

How does your own knowledge influence the perception of another person’s action in the human brain?

When you see someone reach into a cookie jar, their goal remains obvious even if you know that the last cookie has already been eaten. Thus, it is possible to infer the goal of an action even if you know that the goal cannot be achieved. Previous research has identified distinct brain networks for processing information about object locations, actions and mental-state inferences. ...

Eye contact enhances mimicry of intransitive hand movements

Yin Wang Roger Newport Antonia F. de C. Hamilton Articles on similar topics can be found in the following collections Receive free email alerts when new articles cite this article - sign up in the

Contorted and ordinary body postures in the human brain

Social interaction and comprehension of non-verbal behaviour requires a representation of people’s bodies. Research into the neural underpinnings of body representation implicates several brain regions including extrastriate and fusiform body areas (EBA and FBA), superior temporal sulcus (STS), inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and inferior parietal lobule (IPL). The different roles ...

Action Outcomes Are Represented in Human Inferior Frontoparietal Cortex

Cross, and Eugene Tunik for helpful comments on the manuscript. Conflict of Interest: None declared. Address correspondence to Dr Antonia F. de C. Hamilton, School of Psychology, University of Nottingham

Sensitivity of the Action Observation Network to Physical and Observational Learning

Human motor skills can be acquired by observation without the benefit of immediate physical practice. The current study tested if physical rehearsal and observational learning share common neural substrates within an action observation network (AON) including premotor and inferior parietal regions, that is, areas activated both for execution and observation of similar actions. ...