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Conscious Cogn. 2012 Mar;21(1):383-92. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2011.09.015. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Kids observing other kids' hands: visuomotor priming in children.

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Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy.


We investigated motor resonance in children using a priming paradigm. Participants were asked to judge the weight of an object shortly primed by a hand in an action-related posture (grasp) or a non action-related one (fist). The hand prime could belong to a child or to an adult. We found faster response times when the object was preceded by a grasp hand posture (motor resonance effect). More crucially, participants were faster when the prime was a child's hand, suggesting that it could belong to their body schema, particularly when the child's hand was followed by a light object (motor simulation effect). A control experiment helped us to clarify the role of the hand prime. To our knowledge this is the first behavioral evidence of motor simulation and motor resonance in children. Implications of the results for the development of the sense of body ownership and for conceptual development are discussed.

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