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In reading the article titled, Action Comprehension, by Patric Bach, Günther Knoblich, & Wolfgang Prinz, I learned about action comprehension. I learned that the assumption of common event representations bears powerful explanatory potential to address important issues in action comprehension. By action comprehension I mean all processes that are involved in parsing sequences of actions and extracting meaning from them. The ultimate goal of this project was to find out whether the comprehension of action sequences relies on action-related structures.
The rationale behind this claim is that common event representations might become organized into larger script-like chunks without becoming detached from the motor system. This would make action-related information readily available to support the analysis of the meaning of action sequences. As a single word can be meaningful or meaningless in the context of a sentence, a single action can be meaningful or meaningless in the context of an action sequence. Moreover, as grammatical rules impose constraints on the order syntactic types in a sentence, action rules impose constraints on the order of actions in an action sequence.
In order to test whether a similar pattern is found for action comprehension, they developed an experimental model based on the game rock, paper, and scissors. The task was to detect violations of syntax, semantics, or both. By measuring the time it takes to detect different types of errors under different conditions one can determine whether the syntax and semantics of action sequences are processed in parallel and automatically and whether the syntactic analysis is faster than the semantic analysis. A series of experiments demonstrated that all of the above said is the case. Hence, the pattern of results for action comprehension is quite similar to that observed in sentence comprehension....
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