Right hemisphere contributions to imitation tasks

Biermann-Ruben, K., Kessler, K., Jonas, M., Siebner, H. R., Bäumer, T., Münchau, A. and Schnitzler, A. (2008) Right hemisphere contributions to imitation tasks. European Journal of Neuroscience, 27(7), pp. 1843-1855. (doi:10.1111/j.1460-9568.2008.06146.x)

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Humans respond faster to biological as compared with non-biological movements. The faster response has been attributed to an activation of the human mirror neuron system (MNS), which is thought to match the observation and the execution of actions. However, it is unclear, which cortical areas are responsible for this behavioural advantage and little is known about the timing of activations. Using whole-head magnetoencephalography (MEG) we recorded neuronal responses to single biological finger movements and non-biological dot movements while the subjects were required to perform an imitation task or an observation task, respectively. Previous imaging studies on the human MNS suggested that activation in response to biological movements would be stronger and faster in ventral premotor, parietal and superior temporal regions. In accordance with previous studies, reaction times to biological movements were faster than those to dot movements in all subjects. The analysis of evoked magnetic fields revealed that the reaction time benefit was paralleled by stronger and earlier activation of the left temporo-occipital cortex, and the right superior temporal and ventral premotor area. The activity patterns suggest that the latter areas mediate the observed behavioural advantage of biological movements and indicate the contribution of the right hemisphere to action-observation execution-matching processes.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kessler, Dr Klaus
Authors: Biermann-Ruben, K., Kessler, K., Jonas, M., Siebner, H. R., Bäumer, T., Münchau, A., and Schnitzler, A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
Journal Name:European Journal of Neuroscience
Journal Abbr.:Europ. J. Neurosci.
ISSN (Online):1460-9568

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