Oops! I Did it Again: The Psychology of Everyday Action Slips

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We have all had the experience of everyday mistakes like distractedly pouring orange juice into our cereal bowl rather than the milk, or inadvertently continuing on our regular route home rather than stopping at the store as we'd planned. These so-called "action slips" (Reason 1984a) are characterized as failures to execute one’s intention arising in habitual or highly-learned action sequences. This paper argues that a proper understanding of slips, and thus action more generally, requires an understanding of the control structure that implements an agent’s guiding intentions. Central to this structure are motor representations that are active downstream of intention and attentional processes that ensure that they reliably implement the intentions they serve.
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Archival date: 2021-11-23
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