Action observation improves motor imagery: specific interactions between simulative processes
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In the present study, we demonstrated that observation of hand rotation had specific facilitation effects on a classical motor imagery task, the hand-laterality judgement. In Experiment 1, we found that action observation improved subjects’ performance on the hand laterality but not on the letter rotation task (stimulus specificity). In Experiment 2, we demonstrated that this facilitation was not due to mere observation of a moving hand, because it was triggered by observation of manual rotation but not of manual prehension movements (motion specificity). In Experiment 3, this stimulus- and motion-specific effect was found to be right hand-specific, compatible with left-hemispheric specialization in motor imagery but not in action observation. These data provided direct support to the idea that different simulation states, such as action observation and motor imagery, share some common mechanisms but also show specific functional differences.
KeywordsAction observation Motor imagery Mental rotation Motor system
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