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Action Observation Areas Represent Intentions From Subtle Kinematic Features

Koul, A; Cavallo, A; Cauda, F; Costa, T; Diano, M; Pontil, M; Becchio, C; (2018) Action Observation Areas Represent Intentions From Subtle Kinematic Features. Cerebral Cortex , 28 (7) pp. 2647-2654. 10.1093/cercor/bhy098. Green open access

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Abstract

Mirror neurons have been proposed to underlie humans’ ability to understand others’ actions and intentions. Despite 2 decades of research, however, the exact computational and neuronal mechanisms implied in this ability remain unclear. In the current study, we investigated whether, in the absence of contextual cues, regions considered to be part of the human mirror neuron system represent intention from movement kinematics. A total of 21 participants observed reach-to-grasp movements, performed with either the intention to drink or to pour while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging. Multivoxel pattern analysis revealed successful decoding of intentions from distributed patterns of activity in a network of structures comprising the inferior parietal lobule, the superior parietal lobule, the inferior frontal gyrus, and the middle frontal gyrus. Consistent with the proposal that parietal regions play a key role in intention understanding, classifier weights were higher in the inferior parietal region. These results provide the first demonstration that putative mirror neuron regions represent subtle differences in movement kinematics to read the intention of an observed motor act.

Type: Article
Title: Action Observation Areas Represent Intentions From Subtle Kinematic Features
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhy098
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhy098
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, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Neurosciences, Neurosciences & Neurology, action observation, intentions, kinematics, mirror neurons, MVPA, MIRROR-NEURON SYSTEM, PARIETAL, OBSERVERS, MOVEMENTS, PREMOTOR, MOTION, CORTEX
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10070804
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