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Front Hum Neurosci. 2013 Oct 15;7:646. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00646. eCollection 2013.

Motor resonance facilitates movement execution: an ERP and kinematic study.

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Laboratoire sur le Langage, le Cerveau et la Cognition L2C2, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/UCBL, UMR 5304, Institut des Sciences Cognitives Lyon, France.


Action observation, simulation and execution share neural mechanisms that allow for a common motor representation. It is known that when these overlapping mechanisms are simultaneously activated by action observation and execution, motor performance is influenced by observation and vice versa. To understand the neural dynamics underlying this influence and to measure how variations in brain activity impact the precise kinematics of motor behavior, we coupled kinematics and electrophysiological recordings of participants while they performed and observed congruent or non-congruent actions or during action execution alone. We found that movement velocities and the trajectory deviations of the executed actions increased during the observation of congruent actions compared to the observation of non-congruent actions or action execution alone. This facilitation was also discernible in the motor-related potentials of the participants; the motor-related potentials were transiently more negative in the congruent condition around the onset of the executed movement, which occurred 300 ms after the onset of the observed movement. This facilitation seemed to depend not only on spatial congruency but also on the optimal temporal relationship of the observation and execution events.


EEG; kinematics; mirror neurons; motor resonance; motor system

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