Snap! Recognising implicit actions in static point-light displays

Perception. 2009;38(4):613-6. doi: 10.1068/p6320.


Johansson (1973 Perception & Psychophysics 14 201-211) suggested that point-light displays that are static -- so-called 'snapshots' -- contain little or no information about the actor or their action. Here we present data that suggest even naive observers can perceive such information from static point-light arrays. Observers were able, at rates better than chance, to discriminate the directions of facing of sagittally viewed static point-light walkers. The data show also that, without feedback, performances improved with experience. Our data have implications for assumptions made in designing experiments with point-light displays and for models of the neural mechanisms mediating biological motion perceptions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Discrimination, Psychological*
  • Humans
  • Motion Perception*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Photic Stimulation / methods*
  • Research Design*
  • Walking