Echoes on the motor network: How internal motor control structures afford sensory experience

Jed D. Burgess, Jarrad A G Lum, Jakob Hohwy, Peter G. Enticott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Often, during daily experiences, hearing peers’ actions can activate motor regions of the CNS. This activation is termed auditory–motor resonance (AMR) and is thought to represent an internal simulation of one’s motor memories. Currently, AMR is demonstrated at the neuronal level in the Macaque and songbird, in conjunction with evidence on a systems level in humans. Here, we review evidence of AMR development from a motor control perspective. In the context of internal modelling, we consider data that demonstrates sensory-guided motor learning and action maintenance, particularly the notion of sensory comparison seen during songbird vocalisation. We suggest that these comparisons generate accurate sensory-to-motor inverse mappings. Furthermore, given reports of mapping decay after songbird learning, we highlight the proposal that the maintenance of these sensorimotor maps potentially explains why frontoparietal regions are activated upon hearing known sounds (i.e., AMR). In addition, we also recommend that activation of these types of internal models outside of action execution may provide an ecological advantage when encountering known stimuli in ambiguous conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3865–3888
Number of pages24
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Auditory–motor resonance
  • Internal modelling
  • Mirror neurons
  • Sensory comparison
  • Sensory-guided motor learning

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