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Inferring subjective states through the observation of actions

Patel, D; Fleming, SM; Kilner, JM; (2012) Inferring subjective states through the observation of actions. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences , 279 (1748) 4853 - 4860. 10.1098/rspb.2012.1847. Green open access

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Abstract

Estimating another person's subjective confidence is crucial for social interaction, but how this inference is achieved is unknown. Previous research has demonstrated that the speed at which people make decisions is correlated with their confidence in their decision. Here, we show that (i) subjects are able to infer the subjective confidence of another person simply through the observation of their actions and (ii) this inference is dependent upon the performance of each subject when executing the action. Crucially, the latter result supports a model in which motor simulation of an observed action mediates the successful understanding of other minds. We conclude that kinematic understanding allows access to the higher-order cognitive processes of others, and that this access plays a central role in social interactions.

Type: Article
Title: Inferring subjective states through the observation of actions
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.1847
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2012.1847
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited PMCID: PMC3497093
Keywords: Adult, Comprehension, Decision making, Female, Humans, Interpersonal relations, Male, Nontherapeutic human experimentation, Visual perception, Young adult
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Clinical and Movement Neurosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1373136
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