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Automatic imitation of intransitive actions

Press, C; Bird, G; Walsh, E; Heyes, C; (2008) Automatic imitation of intransitive actions. BRAIN COGNITION , 67 (1) 44 - 50. 10.1016/j.bandc.2007.11.001. Green open access

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Abstract

Previous research has indicated a potential discontinuity between monkey and human ventral premotor-parietal mirror systems, namely that monkey mirror systems process only transitive (object-directed) actions, whereas human mirror systems may also process intransitive (non-object-directed) actions. The present study investigated this discontinuity by seeking evidence of automatic imitation of intransitive actions-hand opening and closing-in humans using a simple reaction time (RT), stimulus-response compatibility paradigm. Left-right and up-down spatial compatibility were controlled by ensuring that stimuli were presented and responses executed in orthogonal planes, and automatic imitation was isolated from simple and complex orthogonal spatial compatibility by varying the anatomical identity of the stimulus hand and response hemispace, respectively. In all conditions, action compatible responding was faster than action incompatible responding, and no effects of spatial compatibility were observed. This experiment therefore provides evidence of automatic imitation of intransitive actions, and support for the hypothesis that human and monkey mirror systems differ with respect to the processing of intransitive actions. (C) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Type:Article
Title:Automatic imitation of intransitive actions
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI:10.1016/j.bandc.2007.11.001
Keywords:imitation, stimulus-response compatibility, spatial compatibility, mirror system, action observation, PREMOTOR CORTEX, CORTICOBASAL DEGENERATION, ORTHOGONAL STIMULUS, MOTOR FACILITATION, BIOLOGICAL MOTION, FINGER MOVEMENTS, MIRROR NEURONS, RECOGNITION, REPRESENTATIONS, COMPATIBILITY
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences

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