2010 volume 39(12) pages 1624 – 1644
doi:10.1068/p6712

Cite as:
Davis T J, Riley M A, Shockley K, Cummins-Sebree S, 2010, "Perceiving affordances for joint actions" Perception 39(12) 1624 – 1644

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Perceiving affordances for joint actions

Tehran J Davis, Michael A Riley, Kevin Shockley, Sarah Cummins-Sebree

Received 19 April 2010, in revised form 3 November 2010; published online 10 January 2011

Abstract. Two individuals acting together to achieve a shared goal often have an emergent set of afforded behavioral possibilities that may not easily reduce to either acting alone. In a series of experiments we examined the critical boundaries for transitions in behavior for individuals walking through an aperture alone or alongside another actor as a dyad. Results from experiment 1 indicated that an intrinsically scaled critical boundary for behavioral transitions was different in individuals than in dyads performing a similar task. Experiment 2 demonstrated that observers are perceptually sensitive to the difference in action parameters for the dyad, while still maintaining perceptual sensitivity about the boundaries of action relative to individuals. In experiment 3, we determined that observers’ perception of critical action boundaries for individuals and dyads has a similar informational basis (eye-height scaling). In experiment 4, we demonstrated that observers were able to perceive critical action boundaries for other dyads independently of membership. Together, these results suggest that individuals are sensitive to the affordances related to a joint action, and that this process may not entirely reduce to the perception of the affordances for each individual.

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