Perceiving conspecifics as integrated body-gestalts is an embodied process


We investigated the effect of posture congruence on social perception. Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that completing "body gestalts," rather than being a purely visual process, is mediated by congruence in the postures of observer and stimulus. We developed novel stimuli showing a face and 2 hands that could be combined in various ways to form "body gestalts" implying different postures. In 3 experiments we found that imitative finger movements were consistently faster when the observer's posture matched the posture implied by the configuration of face and hands shown onscreen, suggesting that participants intuitively used their own body schema to "fill in the gaps" in the stimuli. Besides shaping how humans perceive others' bodies, embodied body-gestalt (eBG) completion may be an essential social and survival mechanism, for example, allowing for quick recovery from deceptive actions. It may also partly explain why humans subconsciously align themselves in everyday interactions: This might facilitate optimal corepresentation at higher, conscious levels.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences > Clinical and Systems Neuroscience
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Optometry > Centre for Vision and Hearing Research
Additional Information: © APA This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Publication ISSN: 1939-2222
Last Modified: 01 May 2024 07:10
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2013 09:39
Full Text Link: http://psycnet. ... 0.1037/a0029617
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2013-08
Authors: Kessler, Klaus (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-7307-9539)
Miellet, Sebastien



Version: Accepted Version

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