A long standing debate revolves around the question whether visual action recognition primarily relies on visual or motor action information. Previous studies mainly examined the contribution of either visual or motor information to action recognition. Yet, the interaction of visual and motor action information is particularly important for understanding action recognition in social interactions, where humans often observe and execute actions at the same time. Here, we behaviourally examined the interaction of visual and motor action recognition processes when participants simultaneously observe and execute actions. We took advantage of behavioural action adaptation effects to investigate behavioural correlates of neural action recognition mechanisms. In line with previous results, we find that prolonged visual exposure (visual adaptation) and prolonged execution of the same action with closed eyes (non-visual motor adaptation) influence action recognition. However, when participants simultaneously adapted visually and motorically-akin to simultaneous execution and observation of actions in social interactions-adaptation effects were only modulated by visual but not motor adaptation. Action recognition, therefore, relies primarily on vision-based action recognition mechanisms in situations that require simultaneous action observation and execution, such as social interactions. The results suggest caution when associating social behaviour in social interactions with motor based information.
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