MSU CogSci Arthur Glenberg - April 26, 2010


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"Knowing beans: Human mirror mechanisms revealed through motor adaptation."

Abstract for talk: Mirror neurons in macaque monkeys are active when the animal takes action and when the animal perceives another perform a similar action. Supposedly, this motor resonance reflects the use of the animalís own motor system in recognizing the otherís action goals and intents. In humans, mirror mechanisms have been proposed to grease the wheels of social interaction by contributing to action recognition, language, empathy, and more. Unfortunately, human fMRI data cannot test these causal claims. I will describe a new, cross-modal adaptation paradigm for studying human mirror mechanisms: Adapt the system using repeated movements and then demonstrate the adaptation on cognitive activity. First, I demonstrate the validity of the paradigm using a behavioral dose-response procedure as well as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Then, I will describe experiments using the paradigm to study contributions of mirror mechanisms to speech perception and to language comprehension.

Suggested Readings:

Gazzola, V. & C. Keysers. (2009). The Observation and Execution of Actions Share Motor and Somatosensory Voxels in all Tested Subjects: Single Subject Analyses of Unsmoothed fMRI Data. Cerebral Cortex, 19, 1239-1255.[.pdf]

Glenberg, A. (2009). Naturalizing Cognition: The Integration of Cognitive Science and Biology. Current Biology, 16, R802-R804.[.pdf]

Glenberg, A., M. Sato, & L. Catteaneo. (2009). Use-induced motor plasticity affects the processing of abstract and concrete languages. Current Biology, 18, R290-R291.[.pdf]

Lingnau, A., B. Gesierich, & A. Caramazza. (2009). Asymmetric fMRI adaptation reveals no evidence for mirror neurons in humans. PNAS. 106, 9925-9930 .[.pdf]

Turella, L., A. Pierno, F. Tubaldi, & U. Castiello. (2007). Mirror neurons in humansL Consisting or confouding evidence?. Brain & Language,108, 10-21.[.pdf]


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