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Pineda, J.A.: The functional significance of mu rhythm: translating “seeing” and “hearing” into “doing”. Brain Res. Rev. 50, 57-68

Department of Cognitive Science and Neuroscience, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92037-0515, USA.
Brain Research Reviews (Impact Factor: 5.93). 01/2006; 50(1):57-68. DOI: 10.1016/j.brainresrev.2005.04.005
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ABSTRACT Existing evidence indicates that mu and other alpha-like rhythms are independent phenomena because of differences in source generation, sensitivity to sensory events, bilateral coherence, frequency, and power. Although mu suppression and enhancement echo sensorimotor processing in frontoparietal networks, they are also sensitive to cognitive and affective influences and likely reflect more than an idling brain state. Mu rhythms are present at early stages of human development and in other mammalian species. They exhibit adaptive and dynamically changing properties, including frequency acceleration and posterior-to-anterior shifts in focus. Furthermore, individuals can learn to control mu rhythms volitionally in a very short period of time. This raises questions about the mu rhythm's open neural architecture and ability to respond to cognitive, affective, and motor imagery, implying an even greater developmental and functional role than has previously been ascribed to it. Recent studies have suggested that mu rhythms reflect downstream modulation of motor cortex by prefrontal mirror neurons, i.e., cells that may play a critical role in imitation learning and the ability to understand the actions of others. It is proposed that mu rhythms represent an important information processing function that links perception and action-specifically, the transformation of "seeing" and "hearing" into "doing." In a broader context, this transformation function results from an entrainment/gating mechanism in which multiple alpha networks (visual-, auditory-, and somatosensory-centered domains), typically producing rhythmic oscillations in a locally independent manner, become coupled and entrained. A global or 'diffuse and distributed alpha system' comes into existence when these independent sources of alpha become coherently engaged in transforming perception to action.

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Available from: Jaime A. Pineda, Aug 28, 2015
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    • "Whereas we observed changes in action monitoring within the motor system over age, all groups showed decreased visual Alpha-power over occipital sites for correct compared to erroneous actions. The functional distinction of Mu-and posterior Alpha-activity is in accordance with previous research (Frenkel-Toledo, Bentin, Perry, Liebermann, & Soroker, 2013; Pineda, 2005). A reduction in posterior Alpha has been associated with enhanced attention in the visual system (Thut, Nietzel, Brandt, & Pascual-Leone, 2006); therefore, the measured reduction in posterior Alpha suggests that more visual attention was devoted to the correct action. "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous research demonstrates that from early in life, our cortical sensorimotor areas are activated both when performing and when observing actions (mirroring). Recent findings suggest that the adult motor system is also involved in detecting others' rule violations. Yet, how this translates to everyday action errors (e.g., accidentally dropping something) and how error-sensitive motor activity for others' actions emerges are still unknown. In this study, we examined the role of the motor system in error monitoring. Participants observed successful and unsuccessful pincer grasp actions while their electroencephalography was registered. We tested infants (8- and 14-month-olds) at different stages of learning the pincer grasp and adults as advanced graspers. Power in Alpha- and Beta-frequencies was analysed to assess motor and visual processing. Adults showed enhanced motor activity when observing erroneous actions. However, neither 8- nor 14-month-olds displayed this error sensitivity, despite showing motor activity for both actions. All groups did show similar visual activity, that is more Alpha-suppression, when observing correct actions. Thus, while correct and erroneous actions were processed as visually distinct in all age groups, only the adults' motor system was sensitive to action correctness. Functionality of different brain oscillations in the development of error monitoring and mirroring is discussed. © 2015 The British Psychological Society.
    07/2015; DOI:10.1111/bjdp.12101
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    • "alpha (8–12 Hz), lower beta (12.5–16 Hz) and beta (16–20 Hz), corresponding to the band of sensorimotor waves (Pineda, 2005 "
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    ABSTRACT: The authors’ aim was to examine whether short-term kinesthetic training affects the level of sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) in different frequency band: alpha (8–12 Hz), lower beta (12.5–16 Hz) and beta (16.5–20 Hz) during the execution of a motor imagery task of closing and opening the right and the left hand by experts (jugglers, practicing similar exercises on an everyday basis) and amateurs (individuals not practicing any sports). It was found that the performance of short kinesthetic training increases the power of alpha rhythm when executing imagery tasks only in the group of amateurs. Therefore, kinesthetic training may be successfully used as a method increasing the vividness of motor imagery, for example, in tasks involving the control of brain–computer interfaces based on SMR.
    Journal of Motor Behavior 07/2015; DOI:10.1080/00222895.2014.982067 · 1.41 Impact Factor
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    • "For example, EEG used over scalp locations C3, CZ and C4 can detect the mu rhythm, a large-amplitude oscillation over the sensorimotor cortex in the alpha frequency band (8– 13 Hz). The mu rhythm is suppressed when neurons in motor regions fire, and suppression during action observation is used as an index of mirror system activity (Pineda, 2005). Alternatively, single pulse TMS applied to the primary motor cortex to induce a motor evoked potential (MEP) in a muscle of the hand, is used as a measure of cortico-motor excitability, and in the context of observed action, mirror system activity (interpersonal motor resonance ; Virtanen et al., 1999). "
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    ABSTRACT: Dysfunctional mirror neuron systems have been proposed to contribute to the social cognitive deficits observed in schizophrenia. A few studies have explored mirror systems in schizophrenia using various techniques such as TMS (levels of motor resonance) or EEG (levels of mu suppression), with mixed results. This study aimed to use a novel multimodal approach (i.e. concurrent TMS and EEG) to further investigate mirror systems and social cognition in schizophrenia. Nineteen individuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and 19 healthy controls participated. Single-pulse TMS was applied to M1 during the observation of hand movements designed to elicit mirror system activity. Single EEG electrodes (C3, CZ, C4) recorded brain activity. Participants also completed facial affect recognition and theory of mind tasks. The schizophrenia group showed significant deficits in facial affect recognition and higher level theory of mind compared to healthy controls. A significant positive relationship was revealed between mu suppression and motor resonance for the overall sample, indicating concurrent validity of these measures. Levels of mu suppression and motor resonance were not significantly different between groups. These findings indicate that in stable outpatients with schizophrenia, mirror system functioning is intact, and therefore their social cognitive difficulties may be caused by alternative pathophysiology. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    06/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2015.05.067
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