Ondobaka, S., de Lange, F. P., Wiemers, M., Newman-Norlund, R. & Bekkering, H. (2012). Interplay Between Action and Movement Intentions During Social Interaction. Psychological Science, 23, 30-35.
Abstract. Observing the movements of another person influences the observer’s intention to execute similar movements. However, little is known about how action intentions formed prior to movement planning influence this effect. In the experiment reported here, we manipulated the congruency of movement intentions and action intentions in a pair of jointly acting individuals (i.e., a participant paired with a confederate coactor) and investigated how congruency influenced performance. Overall, participants initiated actions faster when they had the same action intention as the coactor (i.e., when participants and the coactor were pursuing the same conceptual goal). Participants’ responses were also faster when their and the coactor’s movement intentions were directed to the same spatial location, but only when participants had the same action intention as the coactor. These findings suggest that observers use the same representation to implement their own action intentions that they use to infer other people’s action intentions and also that a dynamic, multitiered intentional mechanism is involved in the processing of other people’s actions.