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Psychophysiology. 2008 Nov;45(6):896-905. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2008.00711.x. Epub 2008 Sep 24.

Modulation of the human mirror neuron system during cognitive activity.

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CUBRIC (Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre), School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Park Place, Cardiff CF103AT, United Kingdom.


In this experiment we examined the relationship between the mirror neuron system and increased attention caused by task demands. Whole head MEG recordings were made from 13 participants who were asked to passively observe finger movement sequences, observe these sequences with the knowledge they would later have to perform the sequence presented, and finally, to perform a nonmotor mathematics task based on the finger-movement sequences. Beta-band (15-35 Hz) sensorimotor desynchronization was found in overlapping areas during passive observation and in a separate motor execution condition, indicating the activity of the human mirror neuron system. The beta desynchronization in these areas was enhanced relative to passive viewing when participants had to watch the stimuli to later imitate and when they performed the mathematics task, indicating that mirror neuron system activity can be modulated by attention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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