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Visual adaptation dominates bimodal visual-motor action adaptation

de la Rosa, S., Ferstl, Y., B├╝lthoff, H.H.; Sci. Rep. 6, 23829; doi: 10.1038/srep23829 (2016).

Action observation

Some say that the motor system (e.g. mirror neurons) is critical for understanding of actions.
 
Others say action recognition only happens within the visual system.

Social interaction

Social interactions are different from action observation as humans observe and execute actions at the same time.
 
Which of the two theories is correct for action recognition in social interactions?

What we found

We found that the visual but not the motor system is mainly used for action recognition in social interactions.

Implication

The results call for caution when explaining social behavior purely in terms of mirror neurons.