Differential cerebral activation during observation of expressive gestures and motor acts

Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioural Neurobiology, University of Tübingen, Germany.
Neuropsychologia (Impact Factor: 3.3). 02/2006; 44(10):1787-95. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2006.03.016
Source: PubMed


We compared brain activation involved in the observation of isolated right hand movements (e.g. twisting a lid), body-referred movements (e.g. brushing teeth) and expressive gestures (e.g. threatening) in 20 healthy subjects by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Perception-related areas in the occipital and inferior temporal lobe but also the mirror neuron system in the lateral frontal (ventral premotor cortex and BA 44) and superior parietal lobe were active during all three conditions. Observation of body-referred compared to common hand actions induced increased activity in the bilateral posterior superior temporal sulcus (STS), the left temporo-parietal lobe and left BA 45. Expressive gestures involved additional areas related to social perception (bilateral STS, temporal poles, medial prefrontal lobe), emotional processing (bilateral amygdala, bilateral ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), speech and language processing (Broca's and Wernicke's areas) and the pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA). In comparison to body-referred actions, expressive gestures evoked additional activity only in the left VLPFC (BA 47). The valence-ratings for expressive gestures correlated significantly with activation intensity in the VLPFC during expressive gesture observation. Valence-ratings for negative expressive gestures correlated with right STS-activity. Our data suggest that both, the VLPFC and the STS are coding for differential emotional valence during the observation of expressive gestures.

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    • " seems to have other many functions . In addition to the functions already mentioned , BA44 appears involved in verbal working memory tasks ( Rämä et al . , 2001 ; Sun et al . , 2005 ) , particularly memory of syntactic type ( Fiebach et al . , 2005 ; Wang et al . , 2008 ) ; mirror neuron system ( Manthey et al . , 2003 ; Lawrence et al . , 2006 ; Lotze et al . , 2006 ) ; motor programing ( Amunts et al . , 2004 ) ; tactile imagery ( Yoo et al . , 2003 ) ; arithmetic processing ( Rickard et al . , 2000 ) ; and even music enjoyment ( Koelsch et al . , 2006 ) . This multifunctionality of Broca ' s area may be explained in part by the anatomical subdivision described before , but still specific sub - ar"
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    Frontiers in Psychology 04/2015; 6:687. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00687 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "The patients showed little problems with gesture comprehension, but the left parietal volunteers were most severely disturbed on imitation performance, especially with gestures on their own body (combing one’s hair) rather than with an external object (hammering a nail). In a related study, healthy volunteers observed similar sets of pantomimes while undergoing fMRI (Lotze et al., 2006). aIPS was activated in body-referred and isolated hand pantomimes, whereas left inferior SMG and AG showed a significantly increased response to body-referred pantomimes compared to an isolated hand pantomiming an external object. "
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    Frontiers in Psychology 03/2014; 5:151. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00151 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "However, few studies directly compared abstract-social (person-related) with concreteobject-related gestures. A previous study demonstrated that the left IFG is involved in the processing of expressive (emotional) in contrast to body referred and isolated (object-related) hand gestures (Lotze et al., 2006). This finding suggests that the left IFG is sensitive for the processing of abstract information irrespective of communication modality (speech or gestures). "
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