Dissociating Ideomotor and Spatial Compatibility: Empirical Evidence and Connectionist Models


The tendency to imitate others is a fundamental social skill which could develop via associative learning or some more specialized mechanism, such as observation-execution matching. In this paper, we employ a stimulus-response compatibility paradigm to evaluate whether ideomotor compatibility conforms to the same processes as other S-R responses. The findings reveal a dissociation between spatial and ideomotor compatibility. A set of connectionist models are developed, which show that the differences between spatial and ideomotor compatibility are attributable to structural differences and in part to the relative strengths of an inhibitory node mediating the involuntary S-R response.

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