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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Over the Left Posterior Middle Temporal Gyrus Reduces Wrist Velocity During Emblematic Hand Gesture Imitation
Author(s): Reader, Arran T
Holmes, Nicholas P
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Keywords: Action recognition
Semantic storage
Issue Date: Mar-2019
Citation: Reader AT & Holmes NP (2019) Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Over the Left Posterior Middle Temporal Gyrus Reduces Wrist Velocity During Emblematic Hand Gesture Imitation. Brain Topography, 32 (2), pp. 332-341.
Abstract: Results from neuropsychological studies, and neuroimaging and behavioural experiments with healthy individuals, suggest that the imitation of meaningful and meaningless actions may be reliant on different processing routes. The left posterior middle temporal gyrus (pMTG) is one area that might be important for the recognition and imitation of meaningful actions. We studied the role of the left pMTG in imitation using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and two-person motion-tracking. Participants imitated meaningless and emblematic meaningful hand and finger gestures performed by a confederate actor whilst both individuals were motion-tracked. rTMS was applied during action observation (before imitation) over the left pMTG or a vertex control site. Since meaningless action imitation has been previously associated with a greater wrist velocity and longer correction period at the end of the movement, we hypothesised that stimulation over the left pMTG would increase wrist velocity and extend the correction period of meaningful actions (i.e., due to interference with action recognition). We also hypothesised that imitator accuracy (actor-imitator correspondence) would be reduced following stimulation over the left pMTG. Contrary to our hypothesis, we found that stimulation over the pMTG, but not the vertex, during action observation reduced wrist velocity when participants later imitated meaningful, but not meaningless, hand gestures. These results provide causal evidence for a role of the left pMTG in the imitation of meaningful gestures, and may also be in keeping with proposals that left posterior temporal regions play a role in the production of postural components of gesture.
DOI Link: 10.1007/s10548-018-0684-1
Rights: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
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