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      The role of shared visual information for joint action coordination

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          • In joint action tasks, co-actors have a choice between different coordination mechanisms.

          • How joint actions are coordinated depends on shared perceptual information.

          • In the absence of shared visual information, co-actors rely on a general heuristic strategy.

          • When shared visual information is available, co-actors switch to a communicative strategy.


          Previous research has identified a number of coordination processes that enable people to perform joint actions. But what determines which coordination processes joint action partners rely on in a given situation? The present study tested whether varying the shared visual information available to co-actors can trigger a shift in coordination processes. Pairs of participants performed a movement task that required them to synchronously arrive at a target from separate starting locations. When participants in a pair received only auditory feedback about the time their partner reached the target they held their movement duration constant to facilitate coordination. When they received additional visual information about each other’s movements they switched to a fundamentally different coordination process, exaggerating the curvature of their movements to communicate their arrival time. These findings indicate that the availability of shared perceptual information is a major factor in determining how individuals coordinate their actions to obtain joint outcomes.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Rocking together: dynamics of intentional and unintentional interpersonal coordination.

          The current study investigated the interpersonal coordination that occurred between two people when sitting side-by-side in rocking chairs. In two experiments participant pairs rocked in chairs that had the same or different natural periods. By instructing pairs to coordinate their movements inphase or antiphase, Experiment 1 investigated whether the stable patterns of intentional interpersonal coordination were consistent with the dynamics of within person interlimb coordination. By instructing the participants to rock at their own preferred tempo, Experiment 2 investigated whether the rocking chair movements of visually coupled individuals would become unintentionally coordinated. The degree to which the participants fixated on the movements of their co-actor was also manipulated to examine whether visual focus modulates the strength of interpersonal coordination. As expected, the patterns of coordination observed in both experiments demonstrated that the intentional and unintentional interpersonal coordination of rocking chair movements is constrained by the self-organizing dynamics of a coupled oscillator system. The results of the visual focus manipulations indicate that the stability of a visual interpersonal coupling is mediated by attention and the degree to which an individual is able to detect information about a co-actor's movements.
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            An interference effect of observed biological movement on action.

            It has been proposed that actions are intrinsically linked to perception and that imagining, observing, preparing, or in any way representing an action excites the motor programs used to execute that same action. There is neurophysiological evidence that certain brain regions involved in executing actions are activated by the mere observation of action (the so-called "mirror system;" ). However, it is unknown whether this mirror system causes interference between observed and simultaneously executed movements. In this study we test the hypothesis that, because of the overlap between action observation and execution, observed actions should interfere with incongruous executed actions. Subjects made arm movements while observing either a robot or another human making the same or qualitatively different arm movements. Variance in the executed movement was measured as an index of interference to the movement. The results demonstrate that observing another human making incongruent movements has a significant interference effect on executed movements. However, we found no evidence that this interference effect occurred when subjects observed a robotic arm making incongruent movements. These results suggest that the simultaneous activation of the overlapping neural networks that process movement observation and execution infers a measurable cost to motor control.
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              A minimal architecture for joint action.

              What kinds of processes and representations make joint action possible? In this paper, we suggest a minimal architecture for joint action that focuses on representations, action monitoring and action prediction processes, as well as ways of simplifying coordination. The architecture spells out minimal requirements for an individual agent to engage in a joint action. We discuss existing evidence in support of the architecture as well as open questions that remain to be empirically addressed. In addition, we suggest possible interfaces between the minimal architecture and other approaches to joint action. The minimal architecture has implications for theorising about the emergence of joint action, for human-machine interaction, and for understanding how coordination can be facilitated by exploiting relations between multiple agents' actions and between actions and the environment. Copyright © 2010. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

                Author and article information

                1 August 2016
                August 2016
                : 153
                : 118-123
                [a ]Department of Cognitive Science, Central European University, Oktober 6 utca 7, 1051 Budapest, Hungary
                [b ]Ecole Normale Supérieure, PSL Research University, Institut d’Etudes Cognitives, Inserm, U960, Laboratoire de Neurosciences Cognitives (LNC), F-75005 Paris, France
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. vesperc@ 123456ceu.edu
                © 2016 The Authors

                This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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