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The Theory of Event Coding (TEC): A framework for perception and action planning

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 November 2002

Bernhard Hommel
Affiliation:
Section of Experimental and Theoretical Psychology, University of Leiden, 2300 RB Leiden, The Netherlandshommel@fsw.leidenuniv.nl Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research, D-80799 Munich, Germanymuesseler@mpipf-muenchen.mpg.deaschersleben@mpipf-muenchen.mpg.deprinz@mpipf-muenchen.mpg.de www.mpipf-muenchen.mpg.de/~prinz
Jochen Müsseler
Affiliation:
Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research, D-80799 Munich, Germanymuesseler@mpipf-muenchen.mpg.deaschersleben@mpipf-muenchen.mpg.deprinz@mpipf-muenchen.mpg.de www.mpipf-muenchen.mpg.de/~prinz
Gisa Aschersleben
Affiliation:
Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research, D-80799 Munich, Germanymuesseler@mpipf-muenchen.mpg.deaschersleben@mpipf-muenchen.mpg.deprinz@mpipf-muenchen.mpg.de www.mpipf-muenchen.mpg.de/~prinz
Wolfgang Prinz
Affiliation:
Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research, D-80799 Munich, Germanymuesseler@mpipf-muenchen.mpg.deaschersleben@mpipf-muenchen.mpg.deprinz@mpipf-muenchen.mpg.de www.mpipf-muenchen.mpg.de/~prinz

Abstract

Traditional approaches to human information processing tend to deal with perception and action planning in isolation, so that an adequate account of the perception-action interface is still missing. On the perceptual side, the dominant cognitive view largely underestimates, and thus fails to account for, the impact of action-related processes on both the processing of perceptual information and on perceptual learning. On the action side, most approaches conceive of action planning as a mere continuation of stimulus processing, thus failing to account for the goal-directedness of even the simplest reaction in an experimental task. We propose a new framework for a more adequate theoretical treatment of perception and action planning, in which perceptual contents and action plans are coded in a common representational medium by feature codes with distal reference. Perceived events (perceptions) and to-be-produced events (actions) are equally represented by integrated, task-tuned networks of feature codes – cognitive structures we call event codes. We give an overview of evidence from a wide variety of empirical domains, such as spatial stimulus-response compatibility, sensorimotor synchronization, and ideomotor action, showing that our main assumptions are well supported by the data.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2001 Cambridge University Press

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