Disturbances of self-other distinction after stimulation of the extrastriate body area in the human brain

University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.
Social neuroscience (Impact Factor: 2.66). 02/2009; 4(1):40-8. DOI: 10.1080/17470910801938023
Source: PubMed


In a recent experiment with functional magnetic-resonance imaging, we found that brain activity in the extrastriate body area (EBA) distinguished between observed self- and other-generated movements, being significantly higher during observation of someone else's movement. Here, we investigated further the role of EBA in self-other distinctions using low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). As compared with rTMS applied over a control site, rTMS applied over the EBA increased reaction times, without affecting accuracy, for the detection of other-generated movements. Performance on a control motion-direction detection task was unaffected. These findings provide additional evidence for the role of the EBA in processing information necessary for identifying ourselves as agents of self-generated movements.

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    • "led researchers to investigate its possible role in self-other discrimination. For instance, David et al. [35] showed that low frequency rTMS on the EBA decreased the subjects' performance on self-other discrimination task. Similar results were found by disrupting the functioning of the inferior parietal lobule [36] or the superior parietal lobule [37]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Empathy is a multi-dimensional concept allowing humans to understand the emotions of others and respond adaptively from a social perspective. This mental process, essential to social interactions, has attracted the attention of many scholars from different fields of study but the blooming interest for empathy in cognitive neurosciences has rekindled this interest. This paper reviews the growing literature stemming from studies using brain stimulation techniques that have investigated directly or indirectly the different components of empathy, including resonance, self-other discrimination, and mentalizing. Some studies have also ventured toward the modulation of this complex process and toward the investigation of different components in populations that show reduced empathic skills. We argue that brain stimulation techniques have the potential to make a unique contribution to the field of empathy research with their exclusive capacity, compared to other brain imaging techniques, to modulate the neural systems involved in the distinct components of this process. Provided the development of innovative ecological paradigms that will put people in actual social interactions as well as comprehensive and adaptive models that can integrate research from different domains, the ultimate goal of this research domain is to devise protocols that can modulate empathy in people with developmental, neurological and psychiatric disorders.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Brain Stimulation
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    • "David et al. (2007) argued that EBA not only represents visual stimulation but also integrates visual and motor signals. Furthermore, David et al. (2009) used TMS combined with a similar protocol to show that stimulation of EBA increased response times on the detection of incorrectfeedback trials. Closer examination (described in detail in Kontaris, Wiggett, & Downing, 2009) suggests, however, that TMS stimulation may have also influenced performance on a motion task that was used as a control, and hence these results may have reflected disruption of adjacent hMT+. "
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Although attention may play a major role in explaining EBA/FBA activation during high-order, body-related tasks, it is important to establish the functional significance of top-down modulation in different tasks. While neuroimaging studies documented the functional and anatomical specificity of EBA/FBA activation during body form perception, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and brain-lesion studies provided causative evidence that activity in EBA is essential for processing morphological details of body parts. Local processing of body shapes in EBA might contribute to the representation of high-order body attributes, including person identity and body esthetics, which probably rely on a widespread network of different interconnected areas.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2011 · Cognitive neuroscience
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    • "Ten years ago, a visual area located in the human occipito-temporal cortex was shown to respond selectively to body parts (extrastriate body area, EBA, [9]). More recently, the same area was proposed to perform a " sorting of body part images by identity " [19], either by itself [1] [5] [6] [19], or as part of a right hemisphere network [13] [14], thus adding to the rich neuroanatomical data on agency attribution [2] [7] [15] [16] [25]. "
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    ABSTRACT: You are queuing at the bus stop, and notice that someone suddenly turns her walk into a run: typically, you assume that she wants to catch the bus and may want to tell the driver to wait. Faced with a sudden speed change, rather than considering it bizarre or unnatural, observers attach a meaning to it, and act consequently. In a social context, speed of a movement often bears as much significance as its form, and can be adapted to vehicle precise meanings. This pragmatic rule facilitates decoding of non-verbal messages from other individuals, but may not necessarily apply when observing one's own movements, for which intentions should be informative enough. Hence, the range of motion speeds labeled as 'natural' could be broader for other people's actions compared to one's own. We explored this possibility through a task in which human observers decided whether speed of a gesture had been artificially modified. A virtual hand was presented, which - unbeknownst to participants - moved according to the kinematics of either the observer, or another individual. Although a self/other distinction was never required, participants applied different criteria when dealing with self compared to other people's gestures, suggesting that the brain implicitly extracts identity information before any overt judgment is produced. Interestingly, observers were reluctant to labeling movements of another individual as artificial, in keeping with the hypothesis that large variations in movements' speed can vehicle social messages, and therefore are not regarded a priori as unnatural.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · Neuroscience Letters
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