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Animacy perception of a pair of movements under quantitative control of its temporal contingency: a preliminary study


People perceive life-likeness from the movements of even geometric shapes. This phenomenon is called animacy perception. In this study, we examine our hypothesis that the degree to which one movement contributes to the predictability of the other movement characterizes the degree of animacy. To quantify temporal contingency in this sense, we define temporal contingency by Granger causality in multivariate animacy. To test our hypothesis, we created various movie clips of the two moving circles and asked human participants to rate the degree of animacy, intention, and contingency in each movie. The result of this experiment showed that the degrees of contingency and intension of one object were correlated to those of animacy, only if there was low Granger causality from the other to the object. This result suggests that perceived autonomy, measurable by Granger causality, would play a major role in deciding factors correlated to animacy perception.

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  1. Three sample videos (the first 10 s) are available at

  2. The ratings for the movements with these matrices were quite similar to those of \(A_\text {LL}\) and \(A_\text {00}\).


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This work is supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant no. JP 20H04994, JST PRESTO Grant no. JP MJPR20C9.

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Correspondence to Takuma Torii.

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This work was presented in part at the 26th International Symposium on Artificial Life and Robotics (Online, January 21–23, 2021).

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Torii, T., Oguma, K. & Hidaka, S. Animacy perception of a pair of movements under quantitative control of its temporal contingency: a preliminary study. Artif Life Robotics 27, 448–454 (2022).

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  • Animacy perception
  • Intention
  • Contingency
  • Granger causality