Expertise in the Action / Perceptual Domains

The physical skill required to slam dunk a basketball, cook a perfect soufflé, execute 32 fouettés en tournant or sing and play the accordion on roller skates is formidable, to say the least.  Of interest to the SoBA Lab is how such well-developed expertise in the motor domain influences perception of well-rehearsed movements, compared to those that are less familiar.   Also of interest is how those of us who are mere mortals (and thus incapable of contorting our spines in ways that simply cannot be good for you) perceive movements or postures by those who can move in such ways.  Our research in this domain suggests that physical expertise shapes responses within parietal and premotor brain regions in profound ways, and that we do indeed use our own bodily experience to understand what it is we observe others doing. When physical experience or expertise is lacking, our research shows that the visual system plays a greater role in decoding others’ bodies when performing complex, non-reproducible actions.

Selected publications:
Kirsch, L. P., Snagg, A., Heerey, E & Cross, E. S. (2016). The impact of experience on affective responses during action observation. PLoS One 11 (5): e0154681. 

Cross, E. S., Stadler, W., Parkinson, J., Schütz-Bosbach, S. & Prinz, W. (2013). The influence of visual training on complex action prediction. Human Brain Mapping,34(2), 467-486.

Cross, E. S., Mackie, E. C., Wolford, G., & Hamilton, A. F. de C. (2010). Contorted and ordinary body postures in the human brain. Experimental Brain Research, 204(2), 397-407.

Cross, E. S., Hamilton, A. F. de C., & Grafton, S. T. (2006).  Building a motor simulation de novo: Observation of dance by dancers.  NeuroImage, 31(3), 1257-1267.