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Methodological issues in measures of imitative reaction times

By M.D. Aicken, A.D. Wilson, J.H.G. Williams and M. Mon-Williams

Abstract

Ideomotor (IM) theory suggests that observing someone else perform an action activates an internal motor representation of that behaviour within the observer. Evidence supporting the case for an ideomotor theory of imitation has come from studies that show imitative responses to be faster than the same behavioural measures performed in response to spatial cues. In an attempt to replicate these findings, we manipulated the salience of the visual cue and found that we could reverse the advantage of the imitative cue over the spatial cue. We suggest that participants utilised a simple visuomotor mechanism to perform all aspects of this task, with performance being driven by the relative visual salience of the stimuli. Imitation is a more complex motor skill that would constitute an inefficient strategy for rapid performance.\u

Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:8662

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