An examination of the influence of visuomotor associations on interpersonal motor resonance

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Abstract

The adaptation account of mirror neurons in humans proposes that mirror systems have been selected for in evolution to facilitate social cognition. By contrast, a recent association account of mirror neurons in humans argues that mirror systems are not the result of a specific adaptation, but of sensorimotor learning arising from concurrent visual and motor activity. Here, we used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electromyography (EMG) to evaluate whether visuomotor associations affect interpersonal motor resonance, a putative measure of mirror system activity. 18 participants underwent two TMS sessions exploring whether visuomotor associations established throughout one[U+05F3]s lifespan, namely common movements and movements generated from one[U+05F3]s own perspective, are associated with increased putative mirror system activity. Our results showed no overall difference in interpersonal motor resonance to common versus uncommon actions, or actions presented from an egocentric (self) versus an allocentric (other) perspective. We did, however, observe increased interpersonal motor resonance within the abductor digiti minimi (ADM) muscle in response to allocentric compared to egocentric movements. As the association model predicts stronger mirror system response to actions with stronger visuomotor associations, such as common movements and those presented from an egocentric perspective, our findings provide little evidence to support the association model. ? 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439 - 446
Number of pages8
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume56
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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