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Understanding EventsFrom Perception to Action$
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Thomas F. Shipley and Jeffrey M. Zacks

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195188370

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195188370.001.0001

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Events and Actions as Dynamically Molded Spatiotemporal Objects: A Critique of the Motor Theory of Biological Motion Perception

Events and Actions as Dynamically Molded Spatiotemporal Objects: A Critique of the Motor Theory of Biological Motion Perception

Chapter:
(p.255) 10 Events and Actions as Dynamically Molded Spatiotemporal Objects: A Critique of the Motor Theory of Biological Motion Perception
Source:
Understanding Events
Author(s):

Geoffrey P. Bingham

Emily A. Wickelgren

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195188370.003.0012

The motor theory of biological motion perception hypothesizes that motor commands (or records thereof) are used to recognize human event recognition, motor theory, biological motion perception movements when they are visually perceived. However, current theories of human action render this motor theory redundant. This chapter argues that motor commands are not responsible for the specific forms of different kinds of movements such as running or walking. Rather, passive dynamical organizations are used to generate forms of movement that are then controlled by parametrically adjusting the dynamics. However, it is the dynamically generated movement forms that can provide the information that allows biological motions to be perceived and recognized for what they are. This possibility has been systematically investigated in a number of studies inspired by an ecological approach to visual event perception. The approach hypothesizes that lawfully generated information must be available to allow perception and support recognition. Trajectory forms generated by event dynamics would provide such information. The studies have shown that trajectory forms can be used by human observers to recognize events.

Keywords:   biological motion perception, motor theory, motor commands, event perception, ecological approach

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