5 years ago

Using guitar learning to probe the Action Observation Network's response to visuomotor familiarity

Watching other people move elicits engagement of a collection of sensorimotor brain regions collectively termed the Action Observation Network (AON). An extensive literature documents more robust AON responses when observing or executing familiar compared to unfamiliar actions, as well as a positive correlation between amplitude of AON response and an observer's familiarity with an observed or executed movement. On the other hand, emerging evidence shows patterns of AON activity counter to these findings, whereby in some circumstances, unfamiliar actions lead to greater AON engagement than familiar actions. In an attempt to reconcile these conflicting findings, some have proposed that the relationship between AON response amplitude and action familiarity is nonlinear in nature. In the present study, we used an elaborate guitar training intervention to probe the relationship between movement familiarity and AON engagement during action execution and action observation tasks. Participants underwent fMRI scanning while executing one set of guitar sequences with a scanner-compatible bass guitar and observing a second set of sequences. Participants then acquired further physical practice or observational experience with half of these stimuli outside the scanner across 3 days. Participants then returned for an identical scanning session, wherein they executed and observed equal numbers of familiar (trained) and unfamiliar (untrained) guitar sequences. Via region of interest analyses, we extracted activity within AON regions engaged during both scanning sessions, and then fit linear, quadratic and cubic regression models to these data. The data best support the cubic regression models, suggesting that the response profile within key sensorimotor brain regions associated with the AON respond to action familiarity in a nonlinear manner. Moreover, by probing the subjective nature of the prediction error signal, we show results consistent with a predictive coding account of AON engagement during action observation and execution that also takes into account effects of changes in neural efficiency.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S1053811917303804

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.