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Dynamical entrainment of corticospinal excitability during rhythmic movement observation: a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation study

Varlet, M; Novembre, G; Keller, PE; (2017) Dynamical entrainment of corticospinal excitability during rhythmic movement observation: a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation study. European Journal of Neuroscience , 45 (11) pp. 1465-1472. 10.1111/ejn.13581. Green open access

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Abstract

Spontaneous modulations of corticospinal excitability during action observation have been interpreted as evidence for the activation of internal motor representations equivalent to the observed action. Alternatively or complementary to this perspective, growing evidence shows that motor activity during observation of rhythmic movements can be modulated by direct visuomotor couplings and dynamical entrainment. In-phase and anti-phase entrainment spontaneously occur, characterized by cyclic movements proceeding simultaneously in the same (in-phase) or opposite (anti-phase) direction. Here we investigate corticospinal excitability during the observation of vertical oscillations of an index finger using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). Motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) were recorded from participants’ flexor and extensor muscles of the right index finger, placed in either a maximal steady flexion or extension position, with stimulations delivered at maximal flexion, maximal extension or mid-trajectory of the observed finger oscillations. Consistent with the occurrence of dynamical motor entrainment, increased and decreased MEP responses – suggesting the facilitation of stable in-phase and anti-phase relations but not an unstable 90° phase relation – were found in participants’ flexors. Anti-phase motor facilitation contrasts with the activation of internal motor representation as it involves activity in the motor system opposite from activity required for the execution of the observed movement. These findings demonstrate the relevance of dynamical entrainment theories and methods for understanding spontaneous motor activity in the brain during action observation and the mechanisms underpinning coordinated movements during social interaction.

Type: Article
Title: Dynamical entrainment of corticospinal excitability during rhythmic movement observation: a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/ejn.13581
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejn.13581
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: action observation, dynamical systems, entrainment, motor evoked potential
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 Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Neuro, Physiology and Pharmacology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1556077
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