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The role of putative human anterior intraparietal sulcus area in observed manipulative action discrimination

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INTRODUCTION: Although it has become widely accepted that the action observation network (AON) includes three levels (occipito-temporal, parietal and premotor), little is known concerning the specific role of these levels within perceptual tasks probing action observation. Recent single cell studies suggest that the parietal level carries the information required to discriminate between two-alternative observed actions, but do not exclude possible contributions from the other two levels. METHODS: Two functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments used a task-based attentional modulation paradigm in which subjects viewed videos of an actor performing a manipulative action on a coloured object, and discriminated between either two observed manipulative actions, two actors or two colours. RESULTS: Both experiments demonstrated that relative to actor and colour discrimination, discrimination between observed manipulative actions involved the putative human anterior intraparietal sulcus (phAIP) area in parietal cortex. In one experiment, where the observed actions also differed with regard to effectors, premotor cortex was also specifically recruited. CONCLUSIONS: Our results highlight the primary role of parietal cortex in discriminating between two-alternative observed manipulative actions, consistent with the view that this level plays a major role in representing the identity of an observed action.
Tijdschrift: Brain and Behavior
ISSN: 2162-3279
Issue: 3
Volume: 9
Jaar van publicatie:2019