Grasping with the foot: Goal and motor expertise in action observation

Irene Senna, Nadia Bolognini, Angelo Maravita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Action observation typically induces an online inner simulation of the observed movements. Here we investigate whether action observation merely activates, in the observer, the muscles involved in the observed movement or also muscles that are typically used to achieve the observed action goal. In a first experiment, hand and foot motor areas were stimulated by means of transcranial magnetic stimulation, while participants viewed a typical hand action (grasping) or a nonspecific action (stepping over an object) performed by either a hand or a foot. Hand motor evoked potentials (MEPs) increased for grasping and stepping over actions performed by the hand and for grasping actions performed by the foot. Conversely, foot MEPs increased only for actions performed by the foot. In a second experiment, participants viewed a typical hand action (grasping a pencil) and a typical foot action (pressing a foot-pedal) performed by either a hand or a foot. Again, hand MEPs increased not only during the observation of both actions performed by the hand but also for grasping actions performed by the foot. Foot MEPs increased not only during the observation of grasping and pressing actions performed by the foot but also for pressing actions performed by the hand. This evidence indicates that motor activations by action observation occur also in the muscles typically used to perform the observed action, even when the action is executed by an unusual effector, hence suggesting a double coding of observed actions: a strict somatotopic coding and an action goal coding based on the observer's motor expertise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1750-1760
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Volume35
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Fingerprint

Foot
Observation
Hand
Motor Evoked Potentials
Muscles
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Motor Cortex

Keywords

  • Action goals
  • Action observation
  • Motor evoked potentials
  • Motor expertise
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anatomy
  • Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Grasping with the foot : Goal and motor expertise in action observation. / Senna, Irene; Bolognini, Nadia; Maravita, Angelo.

In: Human Brain Mapping, Vol. 35, No. 4, 2014, p. 1750-1760.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Senna, Irene ; Bolognini, Nadia ; Maravita, Angelo. / Grasping with the foot : Goal and motor expertise in action observation. In: Human Brain Mapping. 2014 ; Vol. 35, No. 4. pp. 1750-1760.
@article{69bf401cfa194e68b069e1547366b967,
title = "Grasping with the foot: Goal and motor expertise in action observation",
abstract = "Action observation typically induces an online inner simulation of the observed movements. Here we investigate whether action observation merely activates, in the observer, the muscles involved in the observed movement or also muscles that are typically used to achieve the observed action goal. In a first experiment, hand and foot motor areas were stimulated by means of transcranial magnetic stimulation, while participants viewed a typical hand action (grasping) or a nonspecific action (stepping over an object) performed by either a hand or a foot. Hand motor evoked potentials (MEPs) increased for grasping and stepping over actions performed by the hand and for grasping actions performed by the foot. Conversely, foot MEPs increased only for actions performed by the foot. In a second experiment, participants viewed a typical hand action (grasping a pencil) and a typical foot action (pressing a foot-pedal) performed by either a hand or a foot. Again, hand MEPs increased not only during the observation of both actions performed by the hand but also for grasping actions performed by the foot. Foot MEPs increased not only during the observation of grasping and pressing actions performed by the foot but also for pressing actions performed by the hand. This evidence indicates that motor activations by action observation occur also in the muscles typically used to perform the observed action, even when the action is executed by an unusual effector, hence suggesting a double coding of observed actions: a strict somatotopic coding and an action goal coding based on the observer's motor expertise.",
keywords = "Action goals, Action observation, Motor evoked potentials, Motor expertise, Transcranial magnetic stimulation",
author = "Irene Senna and Nadia Bolognini and Angelo Maravita",
year = "2014",
doi = "10.1002/hbm.22289",
language = "English",
volume = "35",
pages = "1750--1760",
journal = "Human Brain Mapping",
issn = "1065-9471",
publisher = "John Wiley and Sons Inc.",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Grasping with the foot

T2 - Goal and motor expertise in action observation

AU - Senna, Irene

AU - Bolognini, Nadia

AU - Maravita, Angelo

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - Action observation typically induces an online inner simulation of the observed movements. Here we investigate whether action observation merely activates, in the observer, the muscles involved in the observed movement or also muscles that are typically used to achieve the observed action goal. In a first experiment, hand and foot motor areas were stimulated by means of transcranial magnetic stimulation, while participants viewed a typical hand action (grasping) or a nonspecific action (stepping over an object) performed by either a hand or a foot. Hand motor evoked potentials (MEPs) increased for grasping and stepping over actions performed by the hand and for grasping actions performed by the foot. Conversely, foot MEPs increased only for actions performed by the foot. In a second experiment, participants viewed a typical hand action (grasping a pencil) and a typical foot action (pressing a foot-pedal) performed by either a hand or a foot. Again, hand MEPs increased not only during the observation of both actions performed by the hand but also for grasping actions performed by the foot. Foot MEPs increased not only during the observation of grasping and pressing actions performed by the foot but also for pressing actions performed by the hand. This evidence indicates that motor activations by action observation occur also in the muscles typically used to perform the observed action, even when the action is executed by an unusual effector, hence suggesting a double coding of observed actions: a strict somatotopic coding and an action goal coding based on the observer's motor expertise.

AB - Action observation typically induces an online inner simulation of the observed movements. Here we investigate whether action observation merely activates, in the observer, the muscles involved in the observed movement or also muscles that are typically used to achieve the observed action goal. In a first experiment, hand and foot motor areas were stimulated by means of transcranial magnetic stimulation, while participants viewed a typical hand action (grasping) or a nonspecific action (stepping over an object) performed by either a hand or a foot. Hand motor evoked potentials (MEPs) increased for grasping and stepping over actions performed by the hand and for grasping actions performed by the foot. Conversely, foot MEPs increased only for actions performed by the foot. In a second experiment, participants viewed a typical hand action (grasping a pencil) and a typical foot action (pressing a foot-pedal) performed by either a hand or a foot. Again, hand MEPs increased not only during the observation of both actions performed by the hand but also for grasping actions performed by the foot. Foot MEPs increased not only during the observation of grasping and pressing actions performed by the foot but also for pressing actions performed by the hand. This evidence indicates that motor activations by action observation occur also in the muscles typically used to perform the observed action, even when the action is executed by an unusual effector, hence suggesting a double coding of observed actions: a strict somatotopic coding and an action goal coding based on the observer's motor expertise.

KW - Action goals

KW - Action observation

KW - Motor evoked potentials

KW - Motor expertise

KW - Transcranial magnetic stimulation

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84896390844&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84896390844&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/hbm.22289

DO - 10.1002/hbm.22289

M3 - Article

C2 - 23671004

AN - SCOPUS:84896390844

VL - 35

SP - 1750

EP - 1760

JO - Human Brain Mapping

JF - Human Brain Mapping

SN - 1065-9471

IS - 4

ER -