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An interference effect of observed biological movement on action

Kilner, JM; Paulignan, Y; Blakemore, SJ; (2003) An interference effect of observed biological movement on action. CURR BIOL , 13 (6) 522 - 525. 10.1016/S0960-9822(03)00165-9.

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Abstract

It has been proposed that actions are intrinsically linked to perception and that imagining, observing, preparing, or in any way representing an action excites the motor programs used to execute that same action [1-3]. There is neurophysiological evidence that certain brain regions involved in executing actions are activated by the mere observation of action (the so-called "mirror system;" [4, 5]). However, it is unknown whether this mirror system causes interference between observed and simultaneously executed movements. In this study we test the hypothesis that, because of the overlap between action observation and execution, observed actions should interfere with incongruous executed actions. Subjects made arm movements while observing either a robot or another human making the same or qualitatively different arm movements. Variance in the executed movement was measured as an index of interference to the movement. The results demonstrate that observing another human making incongruent movements has a significant interference effect on executed movements. However, we found no evidence that this interference effect occurred when subjects observed a robotic arm making incongruent movements. These results suggest that the simultaneous activation of the overlapping neural networks that process movement observation and execution infers a measurable cost to motor control.

Type: Article
Title: An interference effect of observed biological movement on action
DOI: 10.1016/S0960-9822(03)00165-9
Keywords: GRASP REPRESENTATIONS, PREMOTOR CORTEX, PERCEPTION, BRAIN, MOTION, LOCALIZATION, RECOGNITION, EXECUTION, RESPONSES, NEURONS
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Clinical and Movement Neurosciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/155506
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