Minds and Machines

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 1–15 | Cite as

Cognitive Representation of a Complex Motor Action Executed by Different Motor Systems

  • Heiko LexEmail author
  • Christoph Schütz
  • Andreas Knoblauch
  • Thomas Schack


The present study evaluates the cognitive representation of a kicking movement performed by a human and a humanoid robot, and how they are represented in experts and novices of soccer and robotics, respectively. To learn about the expertise-dependent development of memory structures, we compared the representation structures of soccer experts and robot experts concerning a human and humanoid robot kicking movement. We found different cognitive representation structures for both expertise groups under two different motor performance conditions (human vs. humanoid robot). In general, the expertise relies on the perceptual-motor knowledge of the human motor system. Thus, the soccer experts’ cognitive representation of the humanoid robot movement is dominated by their representation of the corresponding human movement. Additionally, our results suggest that robot experts, in contrast to soccer experts, access functional features of the technical system of the humanoid robot in addition to their perceptual-motor knowledge about the human motor system. Thus, their perceptual-motor and neuro-functional machine representation are integrated into a cognitive representation of the humanoid robot movement.


Neuro-functional machine representation Perceptual-motor representation Expertise Motor system Humanoid robot Human movement 



This work gratefully acknowledges the financial support from Honda Research Institute Europe for the project: Cognitive planning and motor adaptation in manual action. We thank the reviewers for their critical comments and suggestions, which helped us to improve the manuscript substantially.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heiko Lex
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christoph Schütz
    • 1
  • Andreas Knoblauch
    • 2
  • Thomas Schack
    • 1
  1. 1.Neurocognition and Action - Biomechanics - Research Group, Faculty of Psychology and Sports Science, Institute of Sports ScienceBielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany
  2. 2.Engineering FacultyAlbstadt-Sigmaringen UniversitySigmaringenGermany

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