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People WatchingSocial, Perceptual, and Neurophysiological Studies of Body Perception$
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Kerri Johnson and Maggie Shiffrar

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195393705

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195393705.001.0001

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Neural Mechanisms for Action Observation

Neural Mechanisms for Action Observation

(p.283) Chapter 16Neural Mechanisms for Action Observation
People Watching

Beatriz Calvo-Merino

Oxford University Press

The discovery of mirror neurons in the macaque monkey, or neurons in the premotor cortex that respond during the execution and perception of motor acts, established the first neurophysiological integration of action and perception. Subsequent research has identified and characterized a similar mirror neuron system in human observers that is experience-dependent in that it responds most strongly during the observation of actions that fall within the observer’s motor repertoire. Furthermore, evidence is reviewed that indicates that the mirror neuron system plays a key role in the understanding of other people’s intentions from their actions.

Keywords:   mirror neuron system, mirror neurons, canonical neurons, simulation theory, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fmri), premotor cortex, parietal cortex motor goals, transcranial magnetic stimulation, motor-evoked potential

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