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FMRI evidence of 'mirror' responses to geometric shapes.

Press, C; Catmur, C; Cook, R; Widmann, H; Heyes, C; Bird, G; (2012) FMRI evidence of 'mirror' responses to geometric shapes. PLoS One , 7 (12) , Article e51934. 10.1371/journal.pone.0051934. Green open access

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Abstract

Mirror neurons may be a genetic adaptation for social interaction. Alternatively, the associative hypothesis proposes that the development of mirror neurons is driven by sensorimotor learning, and that, given suitable experience, mirror neurons will respond to any stimulus. This hypothesis was tested using fMRI adaptation to index populations of cells with mirror properties. After sensorimotor training, where geometric shapes were paired with hand actions, BOLD response was measured while human participants experienced runs of events in which shape observation alternated with action execution or observation. Adaptation from shapes to action execution, and critically, observation, occurred in ventral premotor cortex (PMv) and inferior parietal lobule (IPL). Adaptation from shapes to execution indicates that neuronal populations responding to the shapes had motor properties, while adaptation to observation demonstrates that these populations had mirror properties. These results indicate that sensorimotor training induced populations of cells with mirror properties in PMv and IPL to respond to the observation of arbitrary shapes. They suggest that the mirror system has not been shaped by evolution to respond in a mirror fashion to biological actions; instead, its development is mediated by stimulus-general processes of learning within a system adapted for visuomotor control.

Type: Article
Title: FMRI evidence of 'mirror' responses to geometric shapes.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051934
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0051934
Language: English
Additional information: © 2012 Press et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. CP was funded by an Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded by the MRC (Medical Research Council) (www.mrc.ac.uk) and ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) (www.esrc.ac.uk, grant no. G0800071). CC was funded by the ESRC (grant no. RES-538-28-1001). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
UCL classification: UCL
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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1381481
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