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Perceiving conspecifics as integrated body-gestalts is an embodied process

Journal Article


Abstract


  • We investigated the effect of posture congruence on social perception. Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that completing "body gestalts," rather than being a purely visual process, is mediated by congruence in the postures of observer and stimulus. We developed novel stimuli showing a face and 2 hands that could be combined in various ways to form "body gestalts" implying different postures. In 3 experiments we found that imitative finger movements were consistently faster when the observer's posture matched the posture implied by the configuration of face and hands shown onscreen, suggesting that participants intuitively used their own body schema to "fill in the gaps" in the stimuli. Besides shaping how humans perceive others' bodies, embodied body-gestalt (eBG) completion may be an essential social and survival mechanism, for example, allowing for quick recovery from deceptive actions. It may also partly explain why humans subconsciously align themselves in everyday interactions: This might facilitate optimal corepresentation at higher, conscious levels. © 2012 American Psychological Association.

Publication Date


  • 2013

Citation


  • Kessler, K. & Miellet, S. (2013). Perceiving conspecifics as integrated body-gestalts is an embodied process. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 142 (3), 774-790.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84887948193

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/sspapers/2844

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 16

Start Page


  • 774

End Page


  • 790

Volume


  • 142

Issue


  • 3

Place Of Publication


  • United States

Abstract


  • We investigated the effect of posture congruence on social perception. Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that completing "body gestalts," rather than being a purely visual process, is mediated by congruence in the postures of observer and stimulus. We developed novel stimuli showing a face and 2 hands that could be combined in various ways to form "body gestalts" implying different postures. In 3 experiments we found that imitative finger movements were consistently faster when the observer's posture matched the posture implied by the configuration of face and hands shown onscreen, suggesting that participants intuitively used their own body schema to "fill in the gaps" in the stimuli. Besides shaping how humans perceive others' bodies, embodied body-gestalt (eBG) completion may be an essential social and survival mechanism, for example, allowing for quick recovery from deceptive actions. It may also partly explain why humans subconsciously align themselves in everyday interactions: This might facilitate optimal corepresentation at higher, conscious levels. © 2012 American Psychological Association.

Publication Date


  • 2013

Citation


  • Kessler, K. & Miellet, S. (2013). Perceiving conspecifics as integrated body-gestalts is an embodied process. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 142 (3), 774-790.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84887948193

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/sspapers/2844

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 16

Start Page


  • 774

End Page


  • 790

Volume


  • 142

Issue


  • 3

Place Of Publication


  • United States