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A topographical organization for action representation in the human brain

Handjaras, Giacomo and Bernardi, Giulio and Benuzzi, Francesca and Nichelli, Paolo and Pietrini, Pietro and Ricciardi, Emiliano A topographical organization for action representation in the human brain. Human Brain Mapping, 36 (10). pp. 3832-3844. ISSN 1065-9471 (2015)

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How the human brain represents distinct motor features into a unique finalized action still remains undefined. Previous models proposed the distinct features of a motor act to be hierarchically organized in separated, but functionally interconnected, cortical areas. Here, we hypothesized that distinct patterns across a wide expanse of cortex may actually subserve a topographically organized coding of different categories of actions that represents, at a higher cognitive level and independently from the distinct motor features, the action and its final aim as a whole. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging and pattern classification approaches on the neural responses of 14 right-handed individuals passively watching short movies of hand-performed tool-mediated, transitive, and meaningful intransitive actions, we were able to discriminate with a high accuracy and characterize the category-specific response patterns. Actions are distinctively coded in distributed and overlapping neural responses within an action-selective network, comprising frontal, parietal, lateral occipital and ventrotemporal regions. This functional organization, that we named action topography, subserves a higher-level and more abstract representation of finalized actions and has the capacity to provide unique representations for multiple categories of actions. Hum Brain Mapp 36:3832–3844, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: 10.1002/hbm.22881
Additional Information: Open Access article - Fulltext on publisher's website
Uncontrolled Keywords: action representation, action topography, pattern classification, fMRI, multivariate analysis
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Research Area: Computer Science and Applications
Depositing User: Caterina Tangheroni
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2015 11:01
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 09:44
URI: http://eprints.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/2863

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