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MAX

PLANCK
INSTITUTE

FOR
HUMAN
COGNITIVE AND BRAIN SCIENCES
DEPARTMENT OF COGNITIVE NEUROLOGY
LEIPZIG

Distinguishing between self and other: How shared


are shared representations?
Marcel Brass

04.2006

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Observation and execution of action are closely linked

04.2006

Cognitive psychology
movement observation has a strong influence on movement execution (Brass
et al., 2000, 2001, Stuermer et al., 2000)
Social psychology
chameleon effect (Chartrand & Bargh, 1999)
Brain imaging
activation of motor related areas by action observation (e.g. Grezes &
Decety, 1999)
Neurophysiology
mirror neurons (e.g. Rizzolatti & Craighero, 2004)

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

The direct matching hypothesis

Action observation leads to an activation of an internal motor representation.

04.2006

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Open questions

04.2006

Why dont we imitate all the time?


Why dont we confuse internally generated and externally triggered motor
representations?

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Neuropsychological findings

04.2006

Luria (1966)
prefrontal patients show echopractic response tendencies
Lhermitte et al. (1986), DeRenzi et al. (1996)
patients with prefrontal lesions show overt imitative behavior

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

The imitation-inhibition task

congruent

baseline

incongruent

Brass et al. (2000)


04.2006

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

The imitation-inhibition task


Lift the index finger when a `1` appears
and the middle finger when a `2` appears.

++

Brass et al. (2000)


04.2006

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Results

con

base

incon
Brass et al. (2000)

04.2006

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Patients
16 patients with frontal lesions of different etiology and lesion site
14 patients with posterior lesions (temporal, parietal)
16 age-matched controls

04.2006

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Results
interference score: incongruent errors (%) congruent errors (%)
Imitation-inhibition task

Interferenz (%)

10
8

6
4
2
0

frontal posterior control

Brass et al. (2003)


04.2006

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Conclusions
Patients with frontal lesions have problems to inhibit imitative response
tendencies.

04.2006

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Functional mechanisms involved in the inhibition of


imitative behavior

04.2006

Hypothesis
1.

The inhibition of imitative behavior involves general inhibitory mechanisms.

2.

The inhibition of imitative behavior involves specific mechanisms related to the


distinction of self-generated and externally triggered motor representations.

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Experimental design

04.2006

ten healthy right handed participants


the imitation-inhibition task
functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Imitation-inhibition task
Incongruent vs. congruent
1

anterior fronto-median cortex (aFMC)

temporo-parietal junction area (TPJ)

Brass, Derrfuss & von Cramon (2005)


04.2006

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

The functional role of the anterior fronto-median cortex


and the TPJ

04.2006

sense of agency (e.g. Farrer et al., 2003)

perspective taking (Ruby & Decety, 2001, 2003)

out of body experience (Blanke et al., 2002)

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Conclusions

The inhibition of imitative behaviour seems to involve mechanisms related to selfother distinction.

04.2006

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

The mirroring of contextual information

Are environmental constraints mapped onto the observers motor


representation?

04.2006

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Prediction

Observing a physical restraint in another person should restrain the


observer.

04.2006

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Paradigm
no restraint

04.2006

corresponding restraint

non-corresponding restraint

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Demonstration

04.2006

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Results

04.2006

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Alternative hypothesis

The slowing effect is due to higher perceptual difficulty in the


corresponding restraint condition.

04.2006

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Test
Stimuli
no restraint

corresponding restraint

Responses
if a 1 appears

04.2006

if a 2 appears

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Results

04.2006

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Summary

04.2006

There is an automatic tendency to imitate observed behaviour.


Prefrontal patients have problems to inhibit imitative response
tendencies.
The inhibition of imitative behaviour involves functional mechanisms
related to self-other distinction.
Not only the action itself is mapped onto the observers motor
representation but also environmental constraints.

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Roman Liepelt
Stephanie Spengler
Michael Steinborn
Harold Bekkering
Jan Derrfuss
Wolfgang Prinz
D. Yves von Cramon

04.2006

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences