Based on the assumption that mental states are hidden away and therefore not accessible to perception, standard theories of social cognition have mainly focused on the contribution of high-level, inferential mechanism. The way people move, the manner in which they interact with the environment, however, reveals much about their mental states. The goal of our research program is to develop a new quantitative methodology to investigate the relationship between the ‘mental’ and the ‘motor’.At present, we are particularly interested in the following topics:

  • the effectiveness of movement kinematics in conveying intention-related information and the active use observers make of this information to understand and predict others’ behaviour
  • the mechanisms supporting action and perception in the context of social interaction
  • the potential of movement kinematics to reveal decision processes
  • the relationship between action execution and action perception in individuals with autism spectrum disorder

By combining advanced methods in psychophysics and neuroscience (including fMRI and TMS) with kinematics technologies, we seek to bridge fundamental gap between observable movements and unobservable mental states, providing knowledge and applications of scientific, technological and clinical impact.

Collaborations and Projects

  • Bayliss Lab, University of East Anglia (Andrew Bayliss)
  • Neuroscience Center, Università di Padova (Umberto Castiello)
  • of Psychology, King's College London (Caroline Catmur)
  • of Psychology, Stanford University (Barbara Tversky)
  • of Experimental Psychology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Karl Verfaillie)
  • Neuroscience Group, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry (Leonhard Schilbach)