Event-Related Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation of Posterior Superior Temporal Sulcus Improves the Detection of Threatening Postural Changes in Human Bodies
ABSTRACT Perceiving others' emotions through their body movements and postures is crucial for successful social interaction. While imaging studies indicate that perceiving body emotions relies upon a wide network of subcortico-cortical neural regions, little is known on the causative role of different nodes of this network. We applied event-related repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) over nonfacial, body- and action-related extrastriate (EBA), temporal (pSTS), and premotor (vPM) cortices to test their active contribution in perceiving changes between two successive images of either threatening or neutral human body or animal postures. While stimulation of EBA and vPM showed no selective effect on threatening stimuli with respect to neutral ones, rTMS over pSTS selectively impaired neutral posture detection and increased the accuracy in detecting changes of threatening human postures with respect to all other experimental conditions. No such effect was found for animal stimuli. These results support the notion that pSTS is crucially devoted to the detection of socially relevant information concerning others' actions, fostering the notion that amygdalo-temporo-cortical modulatory connections mediate perception of emotionally salient body postures.
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ABSTRACT: Several neurophysiologic and neuroimaging studies suggested that motor and perceptual systems are tightly linked along a continuum rather than providing segregated mechanisms supporting different functions. Using correlational approaches, these studies demonstrated that action observation activates not only visual but also motor brain regions. On the other hand, brain stimulation and brain lesion evidence allows tackling the critical question of whether our action representations are necessary to perceive and understand others' actions. In particular, recent neuropsychological studies have shown that patients with temporal, parietal, and frontal lesions exhibit a number of possible deficits in the visual perception and the understanding of others' actions. The specific anatomical substrates of such neuropsychological deficits however, are still a matter of debate. Here we review the existing literature on this issue and perform an anatomic likelihood estimation meta-analysis of studies using lesion-symptom mapping methods on the causal relation between brain lesions and non-linguistic action perception and understanding deficits. The meta-analysis encompassed data from 361 patients tested in 11 studies and identified regions in the inferior frontal cortex, the inferior parietal cortex and the middle/superior temporal cortex, whose damage is consistently associated with poor performance in action perception and understanding tasks across studies. Interestingly, these areas correspond to the three nodes of the action observation network that are strongly activated in response to visual action perception in neuroimaging research and that have been targeted in previous brain stimulation studies. Thus, brain lesion mapping research provides converging causal evidence that premotor, parietal and temporal regions play a crucial role in action recognition and understanding.Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 05/2014; 8:344. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00344 · 2.90 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Although the idea of action simulation is nowadays popular in cognitive science, neuroscience and robotics, many aspects of the simulative processes remain unclear from empirical, computational, and neural perspectives. In the first part of the article, we provide a critical review and assessment of action simulation theories advanced so far in the wider literature of embodied and motor cognition. We focus our analysis on twelve key questions, and discuss them in the context of human and (occasionally) primate studies. In the second part of the article, we describe an integrative neuro-computational account of action simulation, which links the neural substrate (as revealed in neuroimaging studies of action simulation) to the components of a computational architecture that includes internal modeling, action monitoring and inhibition mechanisms.New Ideas in Psychology 12/2013; 31(3):270–290. DOI:10.1016/j.newideapsych.2013.01.004 · 0.86 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The default mode network is active during restful wakefulness and suppressed during goal-driven behavior. We hypothesize that inhibitory interference with spontaneous ongoing, that is, not task-driven, activity in the angular gyrus (AG), one of the core regions of the default mode network, will enhance the dominant idling EEG alpha rhythms observed in the resting state. Fifteen right-handed healthy adult volunteers underwent to this study. Compared with sham stimulation, magnetic stimulation (1 Hz for 1 min) over both left and right AG, but not over FEF or intraparietal sulcus, core regions of the dorsal attention network, enhanced the dominant alpha power density (8-10 Hz) in occipitoparietal cortex. Furthermore, right AG-rTMS enhanced intrahemispheric alpha coherence (8-10 Hz). These results suggest that AG plays a causal role in the modulation of dominant low-frequency alpha rhythms in the resting-state condition.Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 08/2013; DOI:10.1162/jocn_a_00460 · 4.69 Impact Factor