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Crossmodal classification of mu rhythm activity during action observation and execution suggests specificity to somatosensory features of actions.

Crossmodal classification of mu rhythm activity during action observation and execution suggests specificity to somatosensory features of actions.

Coll, Michel-Pierre, Press, Clare, Hobson, Hannah, Catmur, Caroline and Bird, Geoffrey (2017) Crossmodal classification of mu rhythm activity during action observation and execution suggests specificity to somatosensory features of actions. Journal of Neuroscience, 37 (24). pp. 5936-5947. ISSN 0270-6474 (Print), 1529-2401 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3393-16.2017)

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Abstract

The alpha mu rhythm (8-13 Hz) has been considered to reflect mirror neuron activity due to the fact that it is attenuated by both action observation and action execution. The putative link between mirror neuron system activity and the mu rhythm has been used to study the involvement of the mirror system in a wide range of socio-cognitive processes and clinical disorders. However, previous research has failed to convincingly demonstrate the specificity of the mu rhythm, meaning that it is unclear whether the mu rhythm reflects mirror neuron activity. It also remains unclear if mu rhythm suppression during action observation reflects the processing of motor or tactile information. In an attempt to assess the validity of the mu rhythm as a measure of mirror neuron activity, we used crossmodal pattern classification to assess the specificity of EEG mu rhythm response to action varying in terms of action type (whole-hand or precision grip), concurrent tactile stimulation (stimulation or no stimulation), or object use (transitive or intransitive actions) in twenty human participants. The main results reveal that above-chance crossmodal classification of mu rhythm activity was obtained in the central channels for tactile stimulation and action transitivity but not for action type. Furthermore, traditional univariate analyses applied to the same data were insensitive to differences between conditions. By calling into question the relationship between mirror system activity and the mu rhythm, these results have important implications for the use and interpretation of mu rhythm activity.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright ©2017 the authors.
Uncontrolled Keywords: action observation, EEG, mirror neurons, mu rhythm, multivariate pattern classification
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education & Health
Faculty of Education & Health > Applied Psychology Research Group
Faculty of Education & Health > Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2018 16:37
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/19510

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