Human Actions Can Be Predicted

Humans are an overwhelmingly social species and our ability to interact successfully with other people is crucial for our well-being and survival. We are able to understand that someone is thinking and know why they are behaving in a particular manner with remarkable ease and efficiency. A crucial aspect of these social skills is the ability to predict what other people are going to do next. Our research in the Action Prediction Lab aims to ascertain just how we are able to achieve this. Our research encompasses several main areas (click on a heading to find out more):

Contextual Cues
What cues do observers use to influence their perception of an action and thus their prediction of how the action is most likely to continue?

Psychological Processes
What are the cognitive and neural mechanisms by which we are able to anticipate the actions of others? Is it purely a perceptual phenomenon or does it involve a motor simulation of the other persons actions?

Autistic Spectrum Disorders
Are those with autistic spectrum disorders able to anticipate other people’s actions and, if so, are the psychological mechanisms they employ the same as for those in the general population?

Mental Imagery
Is the link between perception and action also present in mental imagery, and does mental practice of actions facilitate subsequent execution of those actions?

Learning Mechanisms
Do we implicitly learn the behaviour of other people and use this information to predict their behaviour in future social interactions?

Memory for Action Events
Which factors contribute to source misattributions of actions when retrieving action events from memory?