In Praise of a Model but Not Its Conclusions: Commentary on Cooper, Catmur, and Heyes (2012)


Correspondence should be sent to Bennett I. Bertenthal, 1101 E. Tenth St., Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 47405. E-mail:


Cooper et al. (this issue) develop an interactive activation model of spatial and imitative compatibilities that simulates the key results from Catmur and Heyes (2011) and thus conclude that both compatibilities are mediated by the same processes since their single model can predict all the results. Although the model is impressive, the conclusions are premature because they are based on an incomplete review of the relevant literature and because the model includes some questionable assumptions. Moreover, a competing model (Scheutz & Bertenthal, 2012) is introduced that suggests the two compatibilities are not mediated by the same processes. We propose that more research is necessary before concluding that spatial and imitative compatibilities are mediated by the same processes.