Sociomotor action control

Theoretical Review


Our actions affect the behavior of other people in predictable ways. In the present article, we describe a theoretical framework for action control in social contexts that we call sociomotor action control. This framework addresses how human agents plan and initiate movements that trigger responses from other people, and we propose that humans represent and control such actions literally in terms of the body movements they consistently evoke from observers. We review evidence for this approach and discuss commonalities and differences to related fields such as joint action, intention understanding, imitation, and interpersonal power. The sociomotor framework highlights a range of open questions pertaining to how representations of other persons’ actions are linked to one’s own motor activity, how specifically they contribute to action initiation, and how they affect the way we perceive the actions of others.


Social action Motor control Action effects Action representation 



Part of this research was funded by the DFG KU 1964, 14-1 and PF 853, 2-1


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© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyJulius-Maximilians-Universität WürzburgWürzburgGermany

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