The belief that intentions are hidden away in the minds of individuals has been circulating for many years. Theories of indirect perception, such as the Theory of Mind, have since been developed to help explain this phenomenon. Conversely, research in the field of human kinematics and event perception have also given rise to theories of direct perception. The purpose of the study was to determine if intentionality can be directly perceived rather than requiring inferential processes. Prior research regarding kinematics of cooperative and competitive movements have pointed toward direct perception, demonstrating participants can accurately judge a movement as cooperative or competitive by simply observing point-light displays of the isolated arm movements. Considering competitive movements are often performed faster than cooperative movements, speed was perturbed for the purpose of this study to determine if participants are relying on cues or if they can indeed perceive a unique kinematic pattern that corresponds to intentionality. Judging the clips correctly despite perturbation would suggest perception is direct. Additionally, we hypothesized judgments accuracy would be higher in the presence of two actors pointing to the use of interpersonal affordances. Twenty-eight participants from the University of Central Florida were asked to judge 40 clips presented in random order including: normal or perturbed competitive actions with one or two actors; normal or perturbed cooperative actions with one or two actors. Percent correct and reaction time data were analyzed on SPSS using a repeated measures ANOVA. Results rejected the hypothesis that social perception is direct and supported indirect perception, indicating participants relied on cues to make judgments, and provided potential support for the interpersonal affordance hypothesis.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

McConnell, Daniel S.


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program




Access Status

Open Access

Release Date


Included in

Psychology Commons