When two individuals alternate reaching responses to visual targets presented on a
shared workspace, one individual is slower to respond to targets occupying the same
position as their partner's previous response. This phenomenon is thought to be due
to processes that inhibit the initiation of a movement to a location recently acted
upon. However, two distinct forms of the inhibition account have been posited, one
based on inhibition of an action, the other based on inhibition of an action and location.
Furthermore, an additional recent explanation suggests the phenomenon is due to mechanisms
that give rise to action congruency effects. Thus the three different theories differ
in the degree to which action co-representation plays a role in the effect. The aim
of the present work was to examine these competing accounts. Three experiments demonstrated
that when identical actions are made, the effect is modulated by the configuration
of the visual stimuli acted upon and the perceptual demands of the task. In addition,
when the co-actors perform different actions to the same target, the effect is still
observed. These findings support the hypothesis that this particular joint action
phenomenon is generated via social cues that induce location-based inhibition of return
rather than being due to shared motor co-representations.