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Sensorimotor representation of observed dyadic actions with varying agent involvement: an EEG mu study

Krol, Manon A; Jellema, Tjeerd


Manon A Krol


Observation of others’ actions activates motor representations in sensorimotor cortex. Although action observation in the real-world often involves multiple agents displaying varying degrees of action involvement, most lab studies on action observation studied individual actions. We recorded EEG-mu suppression over sensorimotor cortex to investigate how the multi-agent nature of observed hand/arm actions is incorporated in sensorimotor action representations. Hereto we manipulated the extent of agent involvement in dyadic interactions presented in videos. In all clips two agents were present, of which agent-1 always performed the same action, while the involvement of agent-2 differed along three levels: (1) passive and uninvolved, (2) passively involved, (3) actively involved. Additionally, a no-action condition was presented. The occurrence of these four conditions was predictable thanks to cues at the start of each trial, which allowed to study possible mu anticipation effects. Dyadic interactions in which agent-2 was actively involved resulted in increased power suppression of the mu rhythm compared to dyadic interactions in which agent-2 was passively involved. The latter did not differ from actions in which agent-2 was present but not involved. No anticipation effects were found. The results suggest that the sensorimotor representation of a dyadic interaction takes into account the simultaneously performed bodily articulations of both agents, but no evidence was found for incorporation of their static articulated postures.


Krol, M. A., & Jellema, T. (2022). Sensorimotor representation of observed dyadic actions with varying agent involvement: an EEG mu study. Cognitive neuroscience,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 27, 2022
Online Publication Date Jun 14, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Jun 16, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jun 16, 2022
Print ISSN 1758-8928
Electronic ISSN 1758-8936
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Action observation; Multiple actions; EEG; Mirror neuron system; mu rhythm; Prediction
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Copyright Statement
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

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