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01-01-2009 | Original Article | Uitgave 1/2009 Open Access

Psychological Research 1/2009

Acting while perceiving: assimilation precedes contrast

Psychological Research > Uitgave 1/2009
Marc Grosjean, Jan Zwickel, Wolfgang Prinz


To explore the nature of specific interactions between concurrent perception and action, participants were asked to move one of their hands in a certain direction while simultaneously observing an independent stimulus motion of a (dis)similar direction. The kinematics of the hand trajectories revealed a form of contrast effect (CE) in that the produced directions were biased away from the perceived directions (“Experiment 1”). Specifically, the endpoints of horizontal movements were lower when having watched an upward as opposed to a downward motion. However, when participants moved under higher speed constraints and were not presented with the stimulus motion prior to initiating their movements, the CE was preceded by an assimilation effect, i.e., movements were biased toward the stimulus motion directions (“Experiment 2”). These findings extend those of related studies by showing that CEs of this type actually correspond to the second phase of a bi-phasic pattern of specific perception–action interference.

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