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11-08-2015 | Original Article | Uitgave 5/2016

Psychological Research 5/2016

Action induction by visual perception of rotational motion

Psychological Research > Uitgave 5/2016
Claudia Classen, Armin Kibele


A basic process in the planning of everyday actions involves the integration of visually perceived movement characteristics. Such processes of information integration often occur automatically. The aim of the present study was to examine whether the visual perception of spatial characteristics of a rotational motion (rotation direction) can induce a spatially compatible action. Four reaction time experiments were conducted to analyze the effect of perceiving task irrelevant rotational motions of simple geometric figures as well as of gymnasts on a horizontal bar while responding to color changes in these objects. The results show that the participants react faster when the directional information of a rotational motion is compatible with the spatial characteristics of an intended action. The degree of complexity of the perceived event does not play a role in this effect. The spatial features of the used biological motion were salient enough to elicit a motion based Simon effect. However, in the cognitive processing of the visual stimulus, the critical criterion is not the direction of rotation, but rather the relative direction of motion (direction of motion above or below the center of rotation). Nevertheless, this conclusion is tainted with reservations since it is only fully supported by the response behavior of female participants.

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