The Effect of Self-Awareness on the Ability to Recognize Personal Motion
Objective: Point-light video representations of movements have been used in a number of investigations on the ability to recognize personal motion. The purpose of this study was to examine the abilities of athletes with specific gait training (i.e., runners) discriminating personal walking characteristics from point-light videos were compared to athletes for whom gait is not a trained aspect of the sport (i.e., swimmers), and that of a control. It was hypothesized that runners would discriminate their gait among different individuals with greater accuracy than the other two groups and that runners would also devote more attention to the lower extremities for recognition indications.
Method: The participants were video-recorded walking on a treadmill and the subsequent videos were transformed into point-light videos. Participants viewed the point-light videos and made discriminations on whether the individuals shown in each of the videos were themselves or others. While viewing the videos, the eye movement activity of the participants was recorded to examine the visual scanning patterns used to view the videos.
Results: Consistent with the two hypotheses, runners recognized themselves more often than the participants in the other two groups (p=0.48, η2=0.18), and visual attention to different regions of the body depended on the given group with runners allotting more attention to the lower extremities (p<0.5, ηp2=0.16).
Conclusions: Overall, the findings were largely consistent with other investigations with point-light video representations of movement and suggest that experience and training lead to self-awareness that is both recognizable and accessible by a performer.