Journal article

Self-motion holds a special status in visual processing

Agency plays an important role in self-recognition from motion. Here, we investigated whether our own movements benefit from preferential processing even when the task is unrelated to self-recognition, and does not involve agency judgments. Participants searched for a moving target defined by its known shape among moving distractors, while continuously moving the computer mouse with one hand. They thereby controlled the motion of one item, which was randomly either the target or any of the distractors, while the other items followed pre-recorded motion pathways. Performance was more accurate and less prone to degradation as set size increased when the target was the self-controlled item. An additional experiment confirmed that participant-controlled motion was not physically more salient than motion recorded offline. We found no evidence that self-controlled items captured attention. Taken together, these results suggest that visual events are perceived more accurately when they are the consequences of our actions, even when self-motion is task irrelevant.

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