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PLoS One. 2010 Oct 21;5(10):e13507. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013507.

Granger causality mapping during joint actions reveals evidence for forward models that could overcome sensory-motor delays.

Author information

1
Department of Neuroscience, BCN Neuroimaging Centre, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Studies investigating joint actions have suggested a central role for the putative mirror neuron system (pMNS) because of the close link between perception and action provided by these brain regions [1], [2], [3]. In contrast, our previous functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiment demonstrated that the BOLD response of the pMNS does not suggest that it directly integrates observed and executed actions during joint actions [4]. To test whether the pMNS might contribute indirectly to the integration process by sending information to brain areas responsible for this integration (integration network), here we used Granger causality mapping (GCM) [5]. We explored the directional information flow between the anterior sites of the pMNS and previously identified integrative brain regions. We found that the left BA44 sent more information than it received to both the integration network (left thalamus, right middle occipital gyrus and cerebellum) and more posterior nodes of the pMNS (BA2). Thus, during joint actions, two anatomically separate networks therefore seem effectively connected and the information flow is predominantly from anterior to posterior areas of the brain. These findings suggest that the pMNS is involved indirectly in joint actions by transforming observed and executed actions into a common code and is part of a generative model that could predict the future somatosensory and visual consequences of observed and executed actions in order to overcome otherwise inevitable neural delays.

PMID:
20975836
PMCID:
PMC2958830
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0013507
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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