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What neuromodulation and lesion studies tell us about the function of the mirror neuron system and embodied cognition

Research group Gazzola
Publication year 2018
Published in Current Opinion in Psychology
Authors Christian Keysers, Riccardo Paracampo, V. Gazzola

We review neuromodulation and lesion studies that address how activations in the mirror neuron system contribute to our perception of observed actions. Past reviews showed disruptions of this parieto-premotor network impair imitation and goal and kinematic processing. Recent studies bring five new themes. First, focal perturbations of a node of that circuit lead to changes across all nodes. Second, primary somatosensory cortex is an integral part of this network suggesting embodied representations are somatosensory-motor. Third, disturbing this network impairs the ability to predict the actions of others in the close (∼300ms) future. Fourth, disruptions impair our ability to coordinate our actions with others. Fifth, disrupting this network, the insula or cingulate also impairs emotion recognition.

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