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Is social inhibition of return due to action co-representation?

Atkinson, Mark A.; Simpson, Andrew; Skarratt, Paul; Cole, Geoff G.


Mark A. Atkinson

Andrew Simpson

Geoff G. Cole


When two individuals alternate reaching responses to visual targets presented on a shared workspace, one individual is slower to respond to targets occupying the same position as their partner’s previous response. This phenomenon is thought to be due to processes that inhibit the initiation of a movement to a location recently acted upon. However, two distinct forms of the inhibition account have been posited, one based on inhibition of an action, the other based on inhibition of an action and location. Furthermore, an additional recent explanation suggests the phenomenon is due to mechanisms that give rise to action congruency effects. Thus the three different theories differ in the degree to which action co-representation plays a role in the effect. The aim of the present work was to examine these competing accounts. Three experiments demonstrated that when identical actions are made, the effect is modulated by the configuration of the visual stimuli acted upon and the perceptual demands of the task. In addition, when the co-actors perform different actions to the same target, the effect is still observed. These findings support the hypothesis that this particular joint action phenomenon is generated via social cues that induce location-based inhibition of return rather than being due to shared motor co-representations.


Atkinson, M. A., Simpson, A., Skarratt, P., & Cole, G. G. (2014). Is social inhibition of return due to action co-representation?. Acta Psychologica, 150, 85-93.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 9, 2014
Online Publication Date May 21, 2014
Publication Date 2014-07
Deposit Date May 5, 2016
Publicly Available Date May 5, 2016
Journal Acta psychologica
Print ISSN 0001-6918
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 150
Pages 85-93
Keywords Social IOR; Joint action; Social attention; Biological motion; Objects; Co-operation
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an author's accepted manuscript of an article published in Acta psychologica, 2014, v.150.
Contract Date May 5, 2016


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