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An examination of the influence of visuomotor associations on interpersonal motor resonance

journal contribution
posted on 01.04.2014, 00:00 authored by B M Fitzgibbon, P B Fitzgerald, Peter EnticottPeter Enticott
The adaptation account of mirror neurons in humans proposes that mirror systems have been selected for in evolution to facilitate social cognition. By contrast, a recent "association" account of mirror neurons in humans argues that mirror systems are not the result of a specific adaptation, but of sensorimotor learning arising from concurrent visual and motor activity. Here, we used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electromyography (EMG) to evaluate whether visuomotor associations affect interpersonal motor resonance, a putative measure of mirror system activity. 18 participants underwent two TMS sessions exploring whether visuomotor associations established throughout one׳s lifespan, namely common movements and movements generated from one׳s own perspective, are associated with increased putative mirror system activity. Our results showed no overall difference in interpersonal motor resonance to common versus uncommon actions, or actions presented from an egocentric (self) versus an allocentric (other) perspective. We did, however, observe increased interpersonal motor resonance within the abductor digiti minimi (ADM) muscle in response to allocentric compared to egocentric movements. As the association model predicts stronger mirror system response to actions with stronger visuomotor associations, such as common movements and those presented from an egocentric perspective, our findings provide little evidence to support the association model.

History

Journal

Neuropsychologia

Volume

56

Issue

1

Pagination

439 - 446

Publisher

Elsevier

Location

London, England

eISSN

1873-3514

Language

English

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2014, Elsevier