Past research has indicated that when individuals observe biological movements many areas in the observer's motor system become active. Nonetheless, recent behavioral evidence showed that observed movements can interfere with execution of incompatible movements, especially the biological ones. However, the hypothesis that the interference originates within a common neural network, encoding both movement observation and execution, and responding preferentially to biological movements, still awaits confirmation. To test this hypothesis, in the present fMRI study we compared patterns of activation obtained when participants executed finger-movements after having observed either a biological or a non biological model performing compatible (imitative) or incompatible (non imitative) movements. Moreover, we tested the possibility that imitative responses are influenced by the emotional facial expression (sad, neutral, angry) presented before the observed movement. Behaviorally, participants showed a marginally larger compatibility effect (compatible movements faster than incompatible movements) in the biological condition than in the non biological condition. In the imaging data, the interaction testing for areas more active when the observed model was biological (compared with non biological) and performed compatible movements (compared with incompatible movements), activated a network including the motor, premotor and parietal cortices. Notably, the interaction was significant for the neutral and sad facial expressions only. We showed that observing biological movements modulates the activation of motor-related regions, by facilitating the execution of compatible movements and/or interfering with the execution of incompatible movements.
|Titolo:||The effect of observed biological and non-biological movements on action imitation: An fMRI study|
|Autori:||CRESCENTINI C; MENGOTTI P; GRECUCCI A; RUMIATI R. I.|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2011|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Journal article|