Interference of action perception on action production increases across the adult life-span

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Description: Action perception and action production are assumed to be based on an internal simulation process that involves the sensorimotor system. This system undergoes changes across the life span and is assumed to become less precise with age. In the current study, we investigated how increasing age affects the magnitude of interference in action production during simultaneous action perception. In a task adapted from Brass et al. (2000), we asked participants (aged 20 – 80 years) to respond to a visually presented finger movement and/or symbolic cue by executing a previously defined finger movement. Action production was assessed via participants’ reaction times. Results show that participants were slower in trials in which they were asked to ignore an incongruent finger movement compared to trials in which they had to ignore an incongruent symbolic cue. Moreover, advancing age was shown to accentuate this effect. We suggest that the internal simulation of the action becomes less precise with age making the sensorimotor system more susceptible to perturbations such as the interference of a concurrent action perception.

License: CC0 1.0 Universal

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