2004, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
Sebanz, Natalie; Knoblich, Günther; Prinz, Wolfgang
In many situations, people coordinate their actions to achieve common goals. For that reason, it is crucial that each person forms a mental representation of the other group members' actions. This can be achieved through a direct observation-execution match: the process of observing an action activates the mental structures involved in one's own planning and control of this action. This implies that one and the same task should be performed differently depending on whether it is performed alone or alongside another agent. This assumption was confirmed in a series of reaction time studies and an EEG study. Social context had an effect on processes related to action planning and control. Taken together, the results suggest that others' actions are represented in a similar way to one's own.