Seminar Series

Action Perception and Representation: Developing a Psychology of Events

The talk will present recent research on how humans perceive and represent actions. Two issues will be explored. 1) How are the natural events of the world, and actions in particular, segmented into the sub-events we name (with verbs) and remember. Linguistic and mathematical considerations suggest a division of a component of action, the path that is taken through space, may occur at spatiotemporal discontinuities. This strategy was confirmed with two types of test stimuli: simple geometric motions and video of naturalistic human action. 2) How are actions recognized? Recognition of human action may be different from other types of actions. The dynamics of actions appear to be particularly important for perceptual detection and possibly recognition. Finally, recognition and representation of action is not based solely on the movements of a human, but are better understood in terms of the function of an action (how the human’s action affects the environment).