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Primary somatosensory cortex necessary for the perception of weight from other people's action: a continuous theta-burst TMS experiment

Valchev, Nikola; Tidoni, Emmanuele; Hamilton, Antonia F. de C.; Gazzola, Valeria; Avenanti, Alessio

Authors

Nikola Valchev

Antonia F. de C. Hamilton

Valeria Gazzola

Alessio Avenanti

Abstract

The presence of a network of areas in the parietal and premotor cortices, which are active both during action execution and observation, suggests that we might understand the actions of other people by activating those motor programs for making similar actions. Although neurophysiological and imaging studies show an involvement of the somatosensory cortex (SI) during action observation and execution, it is unclear whether SI is essential for understanding the somatosensory aspects of observed actions. To address this issue, we used off-line transcranial magnetic continuous theta-burst stimulation (cTBS) just before a weight judgment task. Participants observed the right hand of an actor lifting a box and estimated its relative weight. In counterbalanced sessions, we delivered sham and active cTBS over the hand region of the left SI and, to test anatomical specificity, over the left motor cortex (M1) and the left superior parietal lobule (SPL). Active cTBS over SI, but not over M1 or SPL, impaired task performance relative to sham cTBS. Moreover, active cTBS delivered over SI just before participants were asked to evaluate the weight of a bouncing ball did not alter performance compared to sham cTBS. These findings indicate that SI is critical for extracting somatosensory features (heavy/light) from observed action kinematics and suggest a prominent role of SI in action understanding.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 15, 2017
Journal NeuroImage
Print ISSN 1053-8119
Electronic ISSN 1095-9572
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 152
Pages 195-206
Institution Citation Valchev, N., Tidoni, E., Hamilton, A. F. D. C., Gazzola, V., & Avenanti, A. (2017). Primary somatosensory cortex necessary for the perception of weight from other people's action: a continuous theta-burst TMS experiment. NeuroImage, 152, 195-206. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.02.075
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.02.075
Keywords Somatosensory cortex (SI); Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS); Causality; Action observation; Weight lifting
Publisher URL https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811917301866?via%3Dihub
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Primary somatosensory cortex necessary for the perception of weight from other people's action: A continuous theta-burst TMS experiment; Journal Title: NeuroImage; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.02.075; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.

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Copyright Statement
© 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BY-NC-ND/4.0/).




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