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Self-movement in the brain

 

 
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We are readily able to distinguish movement made by ourselves and those by others. A recent study in Neuroimage by Balslev et al. demonstrate that the brain networks underlying these two experiences are indeed very similar. This means that a suggestion that recognition of visual feedback during active and passive movement relies on different brain […]

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Posted February 20, 2006 by thomasr

 
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We are readily able to distinguish movement made by ourselves and those by others. A recent study in Neuroimage by Balslev et al. demonstrate that the brain networks underlying these two experiences are indeed very similar. This means that a suggestion that recognition of visual feedback during active and passive movement relies on different brain areas is wrong.

Similar brain networks for detecting visuo-motor and visuo-proprioceptive synchrony.

Balslev D, Nielsen FA, Lund TE, Law I, Paulson OB in Neuroimage. 2006 Jan 5

The ability to recognize feedback from own movement as opposed to the movement of someone else is important for motor control and social interaction. The neural processes involved in feedback recognition are incompletely understood. Two competing hypotheses have been proposed: the stimulus is compared with either (a) the proprioceptive feedback or with (b) the motor command and if they match, then the external stimulus is identified as feedback. Hypothesis (a) predicts that the neural mechanisms or brain areas involved in distinguishing self from other during passive and active movement are similar, whereas hypothesis (b) predicts that they are different.

In this fMRI study, healthy subjects saw visual cursor movement that was either synchronous or asynchronous with their active or passive finger movements. The aim was to identify the brain areas where the neural activity depended on whether the visual stimulus was feedback from own movement and to contrast the functional activation maps for active and passive movement.

We found activity increases in the right temporoparietal cortex in the condition with asynchronous relative to synchronous visual feedback from both active and passive movements. However, no statistically significant difference was found between these sets of activated areas when the active and passive movement conditions were compared. With a posterior probability of 0.95, no brain voxel had a contrast effect above 0.11% of the whole-brain mean signal.

These results do not support the hypothesis that recognition of visual feedback during active and passive movement relies on different brain areas.

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