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Visuomotor correspondence in imitation and self-recognition

Cook, R.; (2012) Visuomotor correspondence in imitation and self-recognition. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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In order to imitate the actions of others actors must solve the visuomotor correspondence problem: Visual representations of actions must somehow be ‘matched-up’ with their corresponding motor programs. In addition, hypothesised motor contributions to perception require a solution to the reverse motor-to-visual correspondence problem. This thesis is concerned with the origins of visuomotor correspondence knowledge – how actors match visual representations of actions to the corresponding motor representations. Chapter 1 describes rival accounts of the acquisition of visuomotor correspondence knowledge and evaluates the evidence for each. Two types of theory are reviewed: Associative solutions - which argue that correlated sensorimotor experience is necessary to link visual and motor representations - and nativist solutions - which posit innate visuomotor links or innate means to achieve such connections. The first two empirical chapters address previous findings that appear to challenge associative accounts. Experiments 1 and 2 (Chapter 2) sought a better understanding of the mechanisms mediating superior recognition of self-produced movements relative to those produced by friends. Experiments 3 and 4 (Chapter 3) sought to identify the conditions necessary for the refinement of visuomotor correspondences. The results from these experiments indicate that our ability to match observed and executed actions is mediated by links acquired associatively during correlated sensorimotor experience. Chapters 4 and 5 sought to determine which associative solution best describes the acquisition of visuomotor links. Experiments 5 and 6 (Chapter 4) tested whether the acquisition of visuomotor links is sensitive to contingency, while Experiments 7 and 8 (Chapter 5) sought to determine whether ‘second-learned’ visuomotor links are subject to contextual modulation. The results from both chapters suggest that the acquisition of visuomotor links conforms to the principles of associative learning established through the study of conditioning in humans and animals.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Visuomotor correspondence in imitation and self-recognition
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of)

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