3 years ago

Evidence for the representation of movement kinematics in the discharge of F5 mirror neurons during the observation of transitive and intransitive actions.

Papadourakis V, Raos VC
Mirror neurons (MirNs) are sensorimotor neurons that fire both when an animal performs a goal-directed action and when the same animal observes another agent performing the same or a similar transitive action. It has been claimed that the observation of intransitive actions does not activate MirNs in a monkey's brain. Prompted by recent evidence indicating that the discharge of MirNs is modulated also by non object-directed actions, we investigated thoroughly the efficacy of intransitive actions to trigger MirNs' discharge. Using representational similarity analysis, we also studied whether the elements constituting the visual scene presented to the monkey during the observation of actions (both transitive and intransitive) are represented in the discharge of MirNs. For this purpose, the moving hand was modelled by its kinematics and the object by features of its geometry. We found that MirNs respond to the observation of both transitive and intransitive actions and that the discharge differences evoked by the observation of object- and non object-directed actions are correlated more with the kinematic differences of these actions than with the differences of the objects' features. These findings support the view that observed action kinematics contribute to action mirroring.

Publisher URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28931615

DOI: PubMed:28931615

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