Revisiting intersubjective action-effect binding: No evidence for social moderators

  • Eva RiechelmannEmail author
  • Lisa Weller
  • Lynn Huestegge
  • Anne Böckler
  • Roland Pfister


Effect-based accounts of human action control have recently highlighted the possibility of representing one’s own actions in terms of anticipated changes in the behavior of social interaction partners. In contrast to action effects that pertain to the agent’s body or the agent’s physical environment, social action effects have been proposed to come with peculiarities inherent to their social nature. Here, we revisit the currently most prominent demonstration of such a peculiarity: the role of eye contact for action-effect learning in social contexts (Sato & Itakura, 2013, Cognition, 127, 383–390). In contrast to the previous demonstration of action-effect learning, a conceptual and a direct replication both yielded evidence for the absence of action-effect learning in the proposed design, irrespective of eye contact. Bayesian statistics supported this claim by demonstrating evidence in favor of the null hypothesis of no effect. These results suggest a limited generalizability of the original findings—for example, due to limitations that are inherent in the proposed study design or due to cultural differences.


Action control Social actions Effect anticipations 



We thank Atsushi Sato for providing us with the stimulus material of Sato and Itakura (2013), and for stimulating discussions regarding the present findings. We would like to thank Charlotte Erlinghagen and André Michael Interthal for data collection.


This research was funded by grants of the German Research Foundation to A.B. (GZ: BO4962/1-1), L.H. (HU 1847/7-1), and R.P. (PF 853, 2-1).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva Riechelmann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lisa Weller
    • 1
  • Lynn Huestegge
    • 1
  • Anne Böckler
    • 1
  • Roland Pfister
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWürzburg UniversityWürzburgGermany

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