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Seeing with the hands

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Abstract

When witnessing someone else’s action people often take advantage of the same motor cognition that is crucial to successfully perform that action themselves. But how deeply is motor cognition involved in understanding another’s action? Can it be selectively modulated by either the agent’s or the witness’s being actually in the position to act? If this is the case, what does such modulation imply for one’s making sense of others? The paper aims to tackle these issues by introducing and discussing a series of experimental studies showing how body and space may constrain one’s own motor cognition reuse in understanding another’s action. These findings, I shall argue, may shed new light on the mechanisms underlying the primary ways of identifying ourselves with other people and of being connected to them. Keywords: motor cognition; social cognition; space representation; mirror neurons; proactive gaze

References

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