When your decisions are not (quite) your own: Action observation influences free choices

Geoff G. Cole, Damien Wright, Silviya P. Doneva, Paul A. Skarratt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A growing number of studies have begun to assess how the actions of one individual are represented in an observer. Using a variant of an action observation paradigm, four experiments examined whether one person's behaviour can influence the subjective decisions and judgements of another. In Experiment 1, two observers sat adjacent to each other and took turns to freely select and reach to one of two locations. Results showed that participants were less likely to make a response to the same location as their partner. In three further experiments observers were asked to decide which of two familiar products they preferred or which of two faces were most attractive. Results showed that participants were less likely to choose the product or face occupying the location of their partner's previous reaching response. These findings suggest that action observation can influence a range of free choice preferences and decisions. Possible mechanisms through which this influence occurs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0127766
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2015

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