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Previous research has shown that some of the same motor regions are activated both when performing and when observing a movement. Here we demonstrate in human subjects that such motor activity also occurs prior to observing someone else's action. This suggests that the mere knowledge of an upcoming movement is sufficient to excite one's own motor system,(More)
Postural sway and heart rate were recorded in young men viewing emotionally engaging pictures. It was hypothesized that they would show a human analog of "freezing" behavior (i.e., immobility and heart rate deceleration) when confronted with a sustained block of unpleasant (mutilation) images, relative to their response to pleasant/arousing (sport action)(More)
Limb amputation results in plasticity of connections between the brain and muscles, with the cortical motor representation of the missing limb seemingly shrinking, to the presumed benefit of remaining body parts that have cortical representations adjacent to the now-missing limb. Surprisingly, the corresponding perceptual representation does not suffer a(More)
Observation of hand movements has been repeatedly demonstrated to increase the excitability of the motor cortical representation of the hand. Little attention, however, has been devoted to its effect on somatosensory processing. Movement execution is well known to decrease somatosensory cortical excitability, a phenomenon termed 'gating'. As executed and(More)
Animal and human studies have shown that the parietal and the ventral premotor cortices constitute the neural substrate of the so-called mirror system. The word "mirror" originally referred to the discovery of neurons in non-human primates whose visual response echoes their motor response. This account proposes that action understanding and imitation depend(More)
Recent studies have proposed that the mental rotation of body parts can be accomplished by calling upon visual and somatomotor resources which, at a functional level, would correspond to different routes toward a single solution [1]. In this study, we investigated the effect of somato-motor and visual strategies upon the mental simulation of a task that(More)
In order to study the interaction between proprioceptive information and motor imagery, we herein investigate how compatible and incompatible postural signals influence corticospinal excitability during the mental simulation of hand movements. Subjects were asked to imagine themselves joining the tips of the thumb and the little finger while they maintained(More)
The ability to identify safety and danger is critical to survival. However, not much is known about human somatic body reactions in these contexts. We performed a posturographic study comparing body reactions to the sight of pictures of smiling babies and families (affiliative) versus matched neutral people, and to pictures depicting body envelope(More)
Several studies have shown a cortico-spinal facilitation during motor imagery. This facilitation effect is weaker when the actual hand posture is incompatible with the imagined movement. To determine whether the source of this interference effect arises from online proprioceptive information, we examined transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)-induced(More)
Mental simulation of movements has been widely used to infer about representational aspects of action. On a daily basis, motor planning and execution depends crucially both upon vision and kinesthesia. What if the former is lost? In this study we investigate the physiological changes induced during a mental simulation task in subjects with early and late(More)