Four-dimensional maps of the human somatosensory system.
PNAS 113(13):E1936 (2016)
A fine-grained description of the spatiotemporal dynamics of human brain activity is a major goal of neuroscientific research. Limitations in spatial and temporal resolution of available noninvasive recording and imaging techniques have hindered so far the acquisition of precise, comprehensive f...
Vitality Forms Processing in the Insula during Action Observation: A Multivoxel Pattern Analysis.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 10:267 (2016)
Observing the style of an action done by others allows the observer to understand the cognitive state of the agent. This information has been defined by Stern "vitality forms". Previous experiments showed that the dorso-central insula is selectively active both during vitality form observation a...
Neural and Computational Mechanisms of Action Processing: Interaction between Visual and Motor Representations.
Neuron 88(1):167 (2015)
Action recognition has received enormous interest in the field of neuroscience over the last two decades. In spite of this interest, the knowledge in terms of fundamental neural mechanisms that provide constraints for underlying computations remains rather limited. This fact stands in contrast w...
Mirth and laughter elicited by electrical stimulation of the human anterior cingulate cortex.
Cortex 71:323 (2015)
Laughter is a complex motor behavior that, typically, expresses mirth. Despite its fundamental role in social life, knowledge about the neural basis of laughter is very limited and mostly based on a few electrical stimulation (ES) studies carried out in epileptic patients. In these studies laugh...
Failure in pantomime action execution correlates with the severity of social behavior deficits in children with autism: a praxis study.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 45(10):3085 (2015)
Here we describe the performance of children with autism, their siblings, and typically developing children using the Florida Apraxia Battery. Children with autism showed the lowest performance in all sections of the test. They were mostly impaired in pantomime actions execution on imitation and...
The organization of the posterior parietal cortex devoted to upper limb actions: An fMRI study.
Human Brain Mapping 36(10):3845 (2015)
The present fMRI study examined whether upper-limb action classes differing in their motor goal are encoded by different PPC sectors. Action observation was used as a proxy for action execution. Subjects viewed actors performing object-related (e.g., grasping), skin-displacing (e.g., rubbing the...
Expressing our internal states and understanding those of others.
PNAS 112(33):10331 (2015)
Vitality form is a term that describes the style with which motor actions are performed (e.g., rude, gentle, etc.). They represent one characterizing element of conscious and unconscious bodily communication. Despite their importance in interpersonal behavior, vitality forms have been, until now...
Mirror neuron activation prior to action observation in a predictable context.
Journal of Neuroscience 34(45):14827 (2014)
A fundamental capacity of social animals consists in the predictive representation of upcoming events in the outside world, such as the actions of others. Here, we tested the activity of ventral premotor area F5 mirror neurons (MNs) while monkeys observed an experimenter performing (Action condi...
What and why understanding in autism spectrum disorders and williams syndrome: similarities and differences.
Autism Research 7(4):421 (2014)
Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and children with Williams syndrome (WS) show divergent social phenotypes, but also several similarities in their socio-cognitive deficits. Cross-syndrome direct comparisons could lead to a better understanding of mechanisms that determine deficits i...
Ventral premotor neurons encoding representations of action during self and others' inaction.
Current Biology 24(14):1611 (2014)
Our environment offers us a number of opportunities for action. However, sometimes we also have to refrain from acting, for example, when facing a "do not touch" sign placed over a desirable object on the shelf of a shop. Previous findings emphasized the role of mesial frontal and prefrontal reg...
The neural correlates of 'vitality form' recognition: an fMRI study: this work is dedicated to Daniel Stern, whose immeasurable contribution to science has inspired our research.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 9(7):951 (2014)
The observation of goal-directed actions performed by another individual allows one to understand what that individual is doing and why he/she is doing it. Important information about others' behaviour is also carried out by the dynamics of the observed action. Action dynamics characterize the '...
Cognitive abilities in siblings of children with autism spectrum disorders.
Experimental Brain Research 232(7):2381 (2014)
The aim of the present study was to assess the cognitive profiles of children with autistic spectrum disorder and of their healthy siblings (Siblings). With the term cognitive profile, we indicate the relationship extant among the values of verbal and performance subtests of the Wechsler Intelli...
Cortical mechanisms underlying the organization of goal-directed actions and mirror neuron-based action understanding.
Physiological Reviews 94(2):655 (2014)
Our understanding of the functions of motor system evolved remarkably in the last 20 years. This is the consequence not only of an increase in the amount of data on this system but especially of a paradigm shift in our conceptualization of it. Motor system is not considered anymore just a "produ...
Confounding the origin and function of mirror neurons.
Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37(2):218 (2014)
Cook et al. argue that mirror neurons originate in sensorimotor associative learning and that their function is determined by their origin. Both these claims are hard to accept. It is here suggested that a major role in the origin of the mirror mechanism is played by top-down connections rather ...
Space-dependent representation of objects and other's action in monkey ventral premotor grasping neurons.
Journal of Neuroscience 34(11):4108 (2014)
The macaque ventral premotor area F5 hosts two types of visuomotor grasping neurons: "canonical" neurons, which respond to visually presented objects and underlie visuomotor transformation for grasping, and "mirror" neurons, which respond during the observation of others' action, likely playing ...
Linking psychoanalysis with neuroscience: the concept of ego.
Neuropsychologia 55:143 (2014)
Through his whole life Marc Jeannerod was fascinated by Freud's thinking. His interest in Freud is witnessed by several of his writings in which he expresses interest in building a bridge between psychoanalysis and cognitive neuroscience. Following Jeannerod's ideas we discuss here a fundamental...
A developmental study on children's capacity to ascribe goals and intentions to others.
Developmental Psychology 50(2):504 (2014)
The capacity to ascribe goals and intentions to others is a fundamental step in child cognitive development. The aim of the present study was to assess the age at which these capabilities are acquired in typically developing children. Two experiments were carried out. In the first experiment, 4 ...
The mirror mechanism: recent findings and perspectives.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society... 369(1644):20130420 (2014)
Mirror neurons are a specific type of visuomotor neuron that discharge both when a monkey executes a motor act and when it observes a similar motor act performed by another individual. In this article, we review first the basic properties of these neurons. We then describe visual features recent...
Mirror neuron research: the past and the future.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society... 369(1644):20130169 (2014)
The motor system resonates to the distal goal of observed actions: testing the inverse pliers paradigm in an ecological setting.
Experimental Brain Research 231(1):37 (2013)
Does motor mirroring in humans reflect the observed movements or the goal of the observed motor acts? Tools that dissociate the agent/object dynamics from the movements of the body parts used to operate them provide a model for testing resonance to both movements and goals. Here, we describe the...