Our own action kinematics predict the perceived affective states of others.

Edey, Rosanna; Yon, Daniel; Cook, Jennifer; Dumontheil, Iroise and Press, Clare. 2017. Our own action kinematics predict the perceived affective states of others. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 43(7), pp. 1263-1268. ISSN 0096-1523 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Our movement kinematics provideuseful cues aboutour affective states. Given that our experiences furnish models that help us to interpret our environment, and that a rich source of action experience comes from our own movements,the present study examined whetherwe use models of our own action kinematics to make judgments about the affective states of others. For example,relative to one’s typical kinematics, anger isassociated with fast movements. Therefore, the extent to which we perceive angerin others maybe determined by the degreeto which their movementsare faster than our own typicalmovements. We related participants’walking kinematicsin a neutral contextto their judgments of the affective statesconveyed byobserved point-light walkers(PLWs). Aspredicted,we found a linear relationship between one’s own walking kinematics and affective state judgments, such that faster participants rated sloweremotionsmore intensely relative to their ratings for faster emotions. This relationship was absent when observing PLWs where differences in velocity between affective states were removed. These findings suggest that perception of affective states in others is predicted by one’s own movement kinematics, withimportant implications for perception of, and interaction with,those who move differently

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We are grateful toKaat Alaertsfor providing the original stimuliand much useful advice concerning their generation, as well as Nicholas Holmes for advice concerningthe bootstrapping analysis. RE was funded by a graduate teaching assistantship from Birkbeck, University of London and DY was fundedby an ESRC Studentship. JC is supported by the Birmingham Fellows programme.

©American Psychological Association, 2017. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at: doi:10.1037/xhp0000423


Action perception; emotion; affective states; point-light walkers; expertise

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28 February 2017Accepted
1 July 2017Published

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Date Deposited:

25 Feb 2020 10:45

Last Modified:

09 May 2022 15:23

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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