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Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2013;2013:4310-3. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2013.6610499.

Mu rhythm suppression during the imagination of observed action.


Mu wave suppression is thought to accompany the activation of the mirror neuron system which occurs when a human observes or imitates the behavior of others. Our investigation indicates a possible difference in mirror neuron system activation between passive and more active observation as suggested by mu wave activation levels. Participants were asked to observe four different videos each 80 s in duration. Each video was repeated once after a 30 s interval. The first video was of visual white noise and participants were instructed to passively observe the video. This was identified as the Baseline condition and served as a mu activation level baseline. The second video was of simple bouncing balls and the observer was again asked to passively observe the video (Ball condition). The third video was of a moving hand (Observation condition). The forth video was of the same moving hand and participants also imagined executing the observed hand movement (Imagination condition). As hypothesized, the Imagination condition activated the greatest level of mu suppression, while the Ball condition activated the lowest level of mu wave suppression. The Observation condition produced a slightly larger level of mu wave suppression than the Ball condition. This progressive increase in mu wave suppression supports the hypothesis that the activation of the mirror neuron system increases as the level of active observation increases.

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