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Neural responses when learning spatial and object sequencing tasks via imitation

Renner, E; White, JP; Hamilton, AFDC; Subiaul, F; (2018) Neural responses when learning spatial and object sequencing tasks via imitation. PLoS ONE , 13 (8) , Article e0201619. 10.1371/journal.pone.0201619. Green open access

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Abstract

Humans often learn new things via imitation. Here we draw on studies of imitation in children to characterise the brain system(s) involved in the imitation of different sequence types using functional magnetic resonance imaging. On each trial, healthy adult participants learned one of two rule types governing the sequencing of three pictures: a motor-spatial rule (in the spatial task) or an object-based rule (in the cognitive task). Sequences were learned via one of three demonstration types: a video of a hand selecting items in the sequence using a joystick (Hand condition), a computer display highlighting each item in order (Ghost condition), or a text-based demonstration of the sequence (Text condition). Participants then used a joystick to execute the learned sequence. Patterns of activation during demonstration observation suggest specialisation for object-based imitation in inferior frontal gyrus, specialisation for spatial sequences in anterior intraparietal sulcus (IPS), and a general preference for imitation in middle IPS. Adult behavioural performance contrasted with that of children in previous studies—indicating that they experienced more difficulty with the cognitive task—while neuroimaging results support the engagement of different neural regions when solving these tasks. Further study is needed on whether children’s differential performance is related to delayed IPS maturation.

Type: Article
Title: Neural responses when learning spatial and object sequencing tasks via imitation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0201619
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0201619
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Science & Technology, Multidisciplinary Sciences, Science & Technology - Other Topics, WORKING-MEMORY, HUMAN BRAIN, COGNITIVE IMITATION, HAND ACTIONS, FMRI, MECHANISMS, MOTOR, CHILDREN, HUMANS, MIRROR
UCL classification: UCL
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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10055427
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