Action co-representation is tuned to other humans

J Cogn Neurosci. 2008 Nov;20(11):2015-24. doi: 10.1162/jocn.2008.20144.


The present study attempts to explore the process by which knowledge of another's intentional behavior in a joint-action scenario is represented through the action observation and execution network-also known as the common coding system. Participants (n = 18) were instructed to perform the complementary social Simon task under the implemented belief of interaction with either an unseen human (biological agent) or a computer program, where in fact, all response sequences from either "partner" were generated by computer. Results provide behavioral and neurophysiological evidence (P3 and S-LRP) that the believed intentionality of another person's actions is sufficient to facilitate a strong-enough agency-dependent social Simon effect to modulate action planning and anticipation. We suggest that the co-representation of human action may be an evolved biologically tuned default of the human motor system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brain Mapping
  • Contingent Negative Variation / physiology*
  • Decision Making / physiology
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Event-Related Potentials, P300 / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imitative Behavior / physiology*
  • Male
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Social Perception*
  • Young Adult