Effect-based action control with body-related effects: Implications for empirical approaches to ideomotor action control.

Ideomotor accounts of human action control posit that human agents represent actions in terms of their perceivable consequences; selecting, planning, and initiating a voluntary action is thus assumed to be mediated by action-effect anticipations. Corresponding empirical investigations have often employed arbitrary effects in the agent’s environment to study action-effect learning and effect-based action control. This strategy has provided accumulating evidence in support of ideomotor mechanisms, but the widespread focus on environment-related action effects has also created misperceptions of what ideomotor accounts aim to explain. Moreover, this strategy has also given rise to misunderstandings of critical epistemological limitations, especially regarding the theoretical relevance of negative results in common experimental paradigms. These recent developments call for a theoretical clarification of the concept of action effects. I propose that many misunderstandings can be resolved by embracing the theoretical role of body-related compared to environment-related actions’ effects. I show how the concept of such effects may inform current debates and how this focus can guide future research related to ideomotor action control, with a main challenge being the derivation of testable and falsifiable theories from the ideomotor framework. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)