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Ways of SeeingThe scope and limits of visual cognition$
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Pierre Jacob and Marc Jeannerod

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198509219

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198509219.001.0001

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Seeing humans act

Seeing humans act

(p.211) 7 Seeing humans act
Ways of Seeing



Oxford University Press

This chapter examines how the human visual system responds to human actions. Section 1 starts with the examination of the human ‘praxic’ system, i.e. a high-level visual pragmatic processing of artifacts as tools. Section 2 examines what seems to be the primary level of the visual analysis of human action, namely the perception of biological motion. Sections 3 and 4 ascend from the primary level to higher levels of the visual analysis of human actions, and argue that the human visual system has two complementary specialized neural circuits for processing human actions. The chapter distinguishes between non-social motor intentions and social intentions to reflect the difference between an intention to grasp an object and an intention to affect a conspecific's behaviour, which, in the human case, may involve the intention to cause a new mental state or representation, e.g. fear or a belief, in a conspecific on the basis of visual cues.

Keywords:   human visual system, human actions, praxic system, social perception, intention

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