Psychology Kenneth L. Smoke Colloquium

Predicting Actions from Preparatory Body Movements

Maryam Vaziri-Pashkam MD, PhD
Research Fellow - Laboratory of Brain and Cognition
National Institute of Mental Health

To navigate the social environment, we often need to predict the goals of other agents. Group dances, competitive sports, or even a simple handshake require accurate predictions of others’ movements. What makes these predictions possible? To study action prediction, we designed a competitive reaching task in an interactive setting. We showed that participants could read others’ actions surprisingly fast using subtle preparatory movements in their opponents’ bodies. Further psychophysics and motion analysis studies showed that even before the explicit movements start the goal of the movement is apparent to the human observers, and that information distributed over the body reveals the goal of actions. This action prediction ability was present but still developing during childhood. These results suggest that humans may have knowledge of the biomechanical
constraints of the bodily movements and may be able to use this knowledge to predict actions and to communicate their goals to others.

Lecture is free and open to the public. This event is co-sponsored with EPACC.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 at 4:00pm to 5:30pm

McCreary Hall 101

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations

Target Audience




Psychology Department
Google Calendar iCal Outlook

Recent Activity