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Cognition. 2008 Mar;106(3):1382-407. Epub 2007 Nov 26.

Segmenting dynamic human action via statistical structure.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, 1227 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1227, USA. baldwin@darkwing.uoregon.edu

Abstract

Human social, cognitive, and linguistic functioning depends on skills for rapidly processing action. Identifying distinct acts within the dynamic motion flow is one basic component of action processing; for example, skill at segmenting action is foundational to action categorization, verb learning, and comprehension of novel action sequences. Yet little is currently known about mechanisms that may subserve action segmentation. The present research documents that adults can register statistical regularities providing clues to action segmentation. This finding provides new evidence that structural knowledge gained by mechanisms such as statistical learning can play a role in action segmentation, and highlights a striking parallel between processing of action and processing in other domains, such as language.

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