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Motor contributions to the perception of relative phase

Cook, R., Gaule, A., Aichelburg, C. & Press, C. (2014). Motor contributions to the perception of relative phase. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 40(5), pp. 1763-1768. doi: 10.1037/a0037351


The extent to which different stimulus elements move together, namely their relative phase, is a central visual feature of many social and physical systems; characterizing everything from the oscillations of a walker's limbs to the alternating lights at pedestrian crossings. The experiments described here provide the first evidence of a motor contribution to the representation of relative phase. Using an interference paradigm, we demonstrate that a motor load dramatically impairs discrimination of relative phase. Comparable interference effects were observed for biological and mechanical stimuli, indicative of a domain-general mechanism. In addition, we show that the same motor load has little effect on a similar static-angle matching task, and that an auditory rhythmic load did not interfere with phase discriminations in the same way as the motor load. These results suggest that the motor system contributes to the perception of relative phase; information crucial for interpreting our social and physical environments. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Publisher Keywords: Action perception; mirror mechanism; motion perception; motor system; relative phase
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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