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    Motor activation during the prediction of nonexecutable actions in infants

    Southgate, Victoria and Begus, Katarina (2013) Motor activation during the prediction of nonexecutable actions in infants. Psychological Science 24 (6), pp. 828-835. ISSN 0956-7976.

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    Although it is undeniable that the motor system is recruited when people observe others’ actions, the inferences that the brain generates from motor activation and the mechanisms involved in the motor system’s recruitment are still unknown. Here, we challenged the popular hypothesis that motor involvement in action observation enables the observer to identify and predict an agent’s goal by matching observed actions with existing and corresponding motor representations. Using a novel neural indication of action prediction—sensorimotor-cortex activation measured by electroencephalography—we demonstrated that 9-month-old infants recruit their motor system whenever a context suggests an impending action, but that this recruitment is not dependent on being able to match the observed action with a corresponding motor representation. Our data are thus inconsistent with the view that action prediction depends on motor correspondence; instead, they support an alternative view in which motor activation is the result of, rather than the cause of, goal identification.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): infant development, social cognition, goals, action understanding, neuroimaging
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2014 10:32
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:09


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