How frontoparietal brain regions mediate imitative and complementary actions: An FMRI study

Ocampo, Brenda, Kritikos, Ada and Cunnington, Ross (2011) How frontoparietal brain regions mediate imitative and complementary actions: An FMRI study. PLoS One, 6 10: e26945.1-e26945.8. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026945

Author Ocampo, Brenda
Kritikos, Ada
Cunnington, Ross
Title How frontoparietal brain regions mediate imitative and complementary actions: An FMRI study
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2011-10-28
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0026945
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 6
Issue 10
Start page e26945.1
End page e26945.8
Total pages 8
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library Science
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Abstract The 'mirror neuron system' (MNS), located within inferior parietal lobe (IPL) and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), creates an internal motor representation of the actions we see and has been implicated in imitation. Recently, the MNS has been implicated in non-identical responses: when the actions we must execute do not match those that we observe. However, in such conflicting situations non action-specific cognitive control networks also located in frontoparietal regions may be involved. In the present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study participants made both similar and dissimilar actions within two action contexts: imitative and complementary. We aimed to determine whether activity within IPL/IFG depends on (i) responding under an imitative versus complementary context (ii) responding with similar versus dissimilar responses, and (iii) observing hand actions versus symbolic arrow cue stimuli. Activity within rIPL/rIFG regions was largest during observation of hand actions compared with arrow cues. Specifically, rIPL/rIFG were recruited only during the imitative context, when participants responded with similar actions. When responding to symbolic arrow cues, rIPL/rIFG activity increased during dissimilar responses, reflecting increased demands placed on general cognitive control mechanisms. These results suggest a specific role of rIPL/rIFG during imitation of hand actions, and also a general role of frontoparietal areas in mediating dissimilar responses to both hand actions and symbolic stimuli. We discuss our findings in relation to recent work that has examined the role of frontoparietal brain structures in joint-actions and inter-actor cooperation. We conclude that the specific brain regions identified here to show increased activation during action observation conditions are likely to form part of a mechanism specifically involved in matching observed actions directly with internal motor plans. Conversely, observation of arrow cues recruited part of a wider cognitive control network involved in the rapid remapping of stimulus-response associations.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article number e26945

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2012 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 10 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 12 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 10 Nov 2011, 14:06:43 EST by Debra McMurtrie on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute