Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Viewing another person's hand actions enhances excitability in an observer's left and right primary motor (M1) cortex. We aimed to determine whether viewing communicative hand actions alters this bilateral sensorimotor resonance. Using single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), we measured excitability in the left and right M1 while right-handed non-signing participants observed bimanual communicative hand actions, i.e., meaningful signs in British Sign Language. TMS-induced motor evoked potentials were recorded from hand muscles during sign observation before and after teaching the participants to associate meanings with half of the signs. Before this teaching, when participants did not know that the presented hand actions were signs, excitability of left and right M1 was modulated equally. After learning the meanings of half the signs, excitability of the left, but not right, M1 was significantly enhanced. This left-lateralized enhancement of M1 excitability occurred during observation of signs with known and unknown meanings. The findings suggest that awareness of the communicative nature of another person's hand actions strengthens sensorimotor resonance in the left M1 cortex and alters hemispheric balance during action observation.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.06.033

Type

Journal article

Journal

Neuropsychologia

Publication Date

08/2010

Volume

48

Pages

3173 - 3177

Keywords

Adult, Analysis of Variance, Electromyography, Evoked Potentials, Motor, Female, Functional Laterality, Hand, Humans, Male, Motor Cortex, Movement, Muscle, Skeletal, Observation, Psychomotor Performance, Sign Language, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Young Adult