Send to

Choose Destination
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Aug 18;112(33):10331-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1512133112. Epub 2015 Aug 4.

Expressing our internal states and understanding those of others.

Author information

Department of Neuroscience, University of Parma, 43100 Parma, Italy;
Department of Psychology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 20123 Milan, Italy;
Department of Computer Science, University of Milan, 20135 Milan, Italy;
Department of Neuroscience, University of Parma, 43100 Parma, Italy; Brain Center for Social and Motor Cognition, Italian Institute of Technology, 43100 Parma, Italy


Vitality form is a term that describes the style with which motor actions are performed (e.g., rude, gentle, etc.). They represent one characterizing element of conscious and unconscious bodily communication. Despite their importance in interpersonal behavior, vitality forms have been, until now, virtually neglected in neuroscience. Here, using the functional MRI (fMRI) technique, we investigated the neural correlates of vitality forms in three different tasks: action observation, imagination, and execution. Conjunction analysis showed that, in all three tasks, there is a common, consistent activation of the dorsocentral sector of the insula. In addition, a common activation of the parietofrontal network, typically active during arm movements production, planning, and observation, was also found. We conclude that the dorsocentral part of the insula is a key element of the system that modulates the cortical motor activity, allowing individuals to express their internal states through action vitality forms. Recent monkey anatomical data show that the dorsocentral sector of the insula is, indeed, connected with the cortical circuit involved in the control of arm movements.


action style; fMRI; insula; mirror mechanism; vitality forms

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center