, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 115-119
Date: 07 Nov 2012

Reading your own lips: Common-coding theory and visual speech perception


Common-coding theory posits that (1) perceiving an action activates the same representations of motor plans that are activated by actually performing that action, and (2) because of individual differences in the ways that actions are performed, observing recordings of one’s own previous behavior activates motor plans to an even greater degree than does observing someone else’s behavior. We hypothesized that if observing oneself activates motor plans to a greater degree than does observing others, and if these activated plans contribute to perception, then people should be able to lipread silent video clips of their own previous utterances more accurately than they can lipread video clips of other talkers. As predicted, two groups of participants were able to lipread video clips of themselves, recorded more than two weeks earlier, significantly more accurately than video clips of others. These results suggest that visual input activates speech motor activity that links to word representations in the mental lexicon.