From intention to action: The role of presence

Giuseppe Riva, John A. Waterworth, Eva L. Waterworth, Fabrizia Mantovani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent research in neuroscience has tried to understand human action from two different but converging perspectives: the cognitive and the volitional. On one side, cognitive studies analyze how action is planned and controlled in response to environmental conditions. On the other side, volitional studies analyze how action is planned and controlled by a subject's needs, motives and goals. In this paper we suggest that the notion of presence may be the missing link between these two approaches, explaining how can we differentiate between perception, action and concepts.In particular, a consideration of presence can explain how can we distinguish between a perceived action, a planned or an executed one. We argue that the evolutionary role of presence is the control of agency through the unconscious separation of " internal" and " external" and the enaction/reenaction of intentions.The model makes sense in terms of evolutionary psychology and is beginning to be supported by evidence of the neural and other physical correlates of action, imitation and self-monitoring. Another strength of this model is that it provides testable predictions about how to improve the experience of presence in media: maximal presence in a mediated experience arises from an optimal combination of form and content, able to support the intentions of the user.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-37
Number of pages14
JournalNew Ideas in Psychology
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

Keywords

  • Action
  • Activity theory
  • Consciousness
  • Intentionality
  • Presence
  • Self

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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