Isolating Action Prediction from Action Integration in the Perception of Social Interactions

Ana Pesquita, Ulysses Bernardet, Bethany E Richards, Ole Jensen, Kimron Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Previous research suggests that predictive mechanisms are essential in perceiving social interactions. However, these studies did not isolate action prediction (a priori expectations about how partners in an interaction react to one another) from action integration (a posteriori processing of both partner's actions). This study investigated action prediction during social interactions while controlling for integration confounds. Twenty participants viewed 3D animations depicting an action-reaction interaction between two actors. At the start of each action-reaction interaction, one actor performs a social action. Immediately after, instead of presenting the other actor's reaction, a black screen covers the animation for a short time (occlusion duration) until a still frame depicting a precise moment of the reaction is shown (reaction frame). The moment shown in the reaction frame is either temporally aligned with the occlusion duration or deviates by 150 ms or 300 ms. Fifty percent of the action-reaction trials were semantically congruent, and the remaining were incongruent, e.g., one actor offers to shake hands, and the other reciprocally shakes their hand (congruent action-reaction) versus one actor offers to shake hands, and the other leans down (incongruent action-reaction). Participants made fast congruency judgments. We hypothesized that judging the congruency of action-reaction sequences is aided by temporal predictions. The findings supported this hypothesis; linear speed-accuracy scores showed that congruency judgments were facilitated by a temporally aligned occlusion duration, and reaction frames compared to 300 ms deviations, thus suggesting that observers internally simulate the temporal unfolding of an observed social interction. Furthermore, we explored the link between participants with higher autistic traits and their sensitivity to temporal deviations. Overall, the study offers new evidence of prediction mechanisms underpinning the perception of social interactions in isolation from action integration confounds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number432
JournalBrain Sciences
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • social interaction
  • action integration
  • action prediction
  • autistic traits

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Isolating Action Prediction from Action Integration in the Perception of Social Interactions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this