Finally our Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience paper has finally appeared in the journal:
|fMRI Activation during Observation of Others’ Reach Errors|
|Nicole Malfait, Kenneth F. Valyear, Jody C. Culham, Jean-Luc Anton, Liana E. Brown, and Paul L. Gribble|
|Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience July 2010, Vol. 22, No. 7: 1493-1503.
Abstract | Full Text | PDF (336 KB) | PDF Plus (344 KB)
Our brain imaging study asks the question, what brain regions are active when we passively observe movement errors made others? The answer is, many of the same sensory/motor brain regions that are activated when we actively move and generate movement errors ourselves. This provides a neural basis for phenomena that we have studied in the past such as motor learning by observing, and suggests that essentially our motor learning brain regions are not only active when we actively engage in movement but also when we observe movements (and movement errors) made by others. Our brains soak up all that we observe and incorporate that information into our own motor repertoire.
Here is the full Abstract:
When exposed to novel dynamical conditions (e.g., externally imposed forces), neurologically intact subjects easily adjust motor commands on the basis of their own reaching errors. Subjects can also benefit from visual observation of others’ kinematic errors. Here, using fMRI, we scanned subjects watching movies depicting another person learning to reach in a novel dynamic environment created by a robotic device. Passive observation of reaching movements (whether or not they were perturbed by the robot) was associated with increased activation in fronto-parietal regions that are normally recruited in active reaching. We found significant clusters in parieto-occipital cortex, intraparietal sulcus, as well as in dorsal premotor cortex. Moreover, it appeared that part of the network that has been shown to be engaged in processing self-generated reach error is also involved in observing reach errors committed by others. Specifically, activity in left intraparietal sulcus and left dorsal premotor cortex, as well as in right cerebellar cortex, was modulated by the amplitude of observed kinematic errors.