A transcranial magnetic stimulation study of the effect of visual orientation on the putative human mirror neuron system

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Mirror neurons are a class of motor neuron that are active during both the performance and observation of behavior, and have been implicated in interpersonal understanding. There is evidence to suggest that the mirror response is modulated by the perspective from which an action is presented (e.g., egocentric or allocentric). Most human research, however, has only examined this when presenting intransitive actions.Twenty-three healthy adult participants completed a transcranial magnetic stimulation experiment that assessed corticospinal excitability whilst viewing transitive hand gestures from both egocentric (i.e., self) and allocentric (i.e., other) viewpoints. Although action observation was associated with increases in corticospinal excitability (reflecting putative human mirror neuron activity), there was no effect of visual perspective. These findings are discussed in the context of contemporary theories of mirror neuron ontogeny, including models concerning associative learning and evolutionary adaptation. ? 2013 Burgess, Arnold, Fitzgibbon, Fitzgerald and Enticott.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 6
Number of pages6
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberArt. No.: 679
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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