• Modulation of Neural Mirroring by Sensorimotor Experiences: Evidence from Action Observation and Execution

      Marshall, Peter J.; Giovannetti, Tania; Shipley, Thomas F.; Karpinski, Andrew; Chein, Jason M.; Weisberg, Robert W. (Temple University. Libraries, 2013)
      A recent line of inquiry has examined a specific question about how an observer's own experiences with actions may change how his or her brain processes those actions when they are subsequently observed. In short, how does prior experience with action affect the subsequent perception of others' actions? The current study investigated this question using electroencephalography (EEG) to test the hypothesis that receiving experience with an action would subsequently lead to different activation of sensorimotor cortex depending on the predicted consequences of observed actions. While EEG was recorded, three groups of participants watched video clips showing an actor lifting objects, and then each group received information about the sensorimotor properties (i.e., weight) of the objects. One group received extended sensorimotor experience with the objects (EE group), a second group received brief sensorimotor experience with the objects (BE group), and the third group read written information describing the objects' weights (semantic information, SI group). Following the experience, participants again viewed the video clips. Time-frequency analyses showed that for participants in the EE and BE groups, EEG during the observation of action was sensitive to the predicted sensorimotor consequences of the observed action. This was not found for the SI group. As well, all three groups showed increased alpha and beta suppression following experience. Overall, these results lead to two main conclusions: 1) experience with action facilitates subsequent neural mirroring processes, and 2) sensorimotor experience leads to differential activation of the sensorimotor cortex depending on the predicted consequences of observed action.