Individual Differences in Self-Recognition from Body Movements

AbstractSince we rarely view our own body movements in our daily lives, understanding the recognition of self-body movement can shed light on the core of self-awareness and on the representation of actions. We first recorded nine simple and nine complex actions performed by individual participants, who also subsequently observed nine videos displayed on the screen and imitated these actions. After a delay period of 35-40 days, participants were asked to identify their self- body movements presented as point-light displays amongst three other actors who performed the same actions. Participants were able to recognize themselves solely based on kinematics in point-light displays. However, self-recognition accuracy varied according to the complexity of performed actions, with more accurate self-recognition for complex than simple actions. The ability of self-recognition with simple actions showed a significant relation with autistic traits (negative relation: poorer self-recognition accuracy with more autistic traits), schizophrenic traits (quadratic non-linear relation, participants with the median degree of schizophrenia traits performed better than participants at the extremes), and with imitation actions and motor imagery traits (linear relation: increased self-recognition accuracy with greater motor imagery). We also found that participants did not recognize actions that only required visual experience but could identify their self-generated actions that required motor experience, underscoring the importance of motor experience to the representation of self-body movements.


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