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Motor Representation and Action Experience in Joint Action (2020)

by Corrado Sinigaglia and Stephen A. Butterfill

--- in Anika Fiebich (eds.), Minimal Cooperation and Shared Agency , Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 181–193
--- links: [pdf] external [doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-29783-1_11]


Acting together with a purpose is a familiar feature of everyday life. We jump together, play music together and move tables together. But what do we experience of action in acting together? It is perhaps tempting to suppose that there is a special way in which we can experience our own actions, and that we cannot experience the actions of others in this way. This view would imply that in acting together, our own actions are experienced in a way that our partners’ actions are not. However recent research on motor representation suggests that, in observing another act, it may be possible to experience her actions in whatever sense we can experience our own actions. This makes it at least conceivable that in acting together we can experience the actions each of us performs in the same way. But the occurrence of a joint action involves more than merely the occurrences of two individual actions. Are there experiences of joint actions which involve more than merely two or more experiences of individual actions? In this chapter we defend a positive answer. In some cases, experiences associated with joint action are experiences of action in whatever sense experiences of acting alone are.