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Beyond motor scheme: a supramodal distributed representation in the action-observation network

Ricciardi, Emiliano and Handjaras, Giacomo and Bonino, Daniela and Vecchi, Tomaso and Fadiga, Luciano and Pietrini, Pietro Beyond motor scheme: a supramodal distributed representation in the action-observation network. PloS One, 8 (3). ISSN 1932-6203 (2013)

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The representation of actions within the action-observation network is thought to rely on a distributed functional organization. Furthermore, recent findings indicate that the action-observation network encodes not merely the observed motor act, but rather a representation that is independent from a specific sensory modality or sensory experience. In the present study, we wished to determine to what extent this distributed and ‘more abstract’ representation of action is truly supramodal, i.e. shares a common coding across sensory modalities. To this aim, a pattern recognition approach was employed to analyze neural responses in sighted and congenitally blind subjects during visual and/or auditory presentation of hand-made actions. Multivoxel pattern analyses-based classifiers discriminated action from non-action stimuli across sensory conditions (visual and auditory) and experimental groups (blind and sighted). Moreover, these classifiers labeled as ‘action’ the pattern of neural responses evoked during actual motor execution. Interestingly, discriminative information for the action/non action classification was located in a bilateral, but left-prevalent, network that strongly overlaps with brain regions known to form the action-observation network and the human mirror system. The ability to identify action features with a multivoxel pattern analyses-based classifier in both sighted and blind individuals and independently from the sensory modality conveying the stimuli clearly supports the hypothesis of a supramodal, distributed functional representation of actions, mainly within the action-observation network.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058632
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Research Area: Computer Science and Applications
Depositing User: Users 72 not found.
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2015 11:27
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 09:47
URI: http://eprints.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/2865

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