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New Frontiers in Mirror Neurons Research$
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Pier Francesco Ferrari and Giacomo Rizzolatti

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199686155

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199686155.001.0001

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Neural underpinnings of anticipatory action simulation and perception in expert brains

Neural underpinnings of anticipatory action simulation and perception in expert brains

(p.91) Chapter 6 Neural underpinnings of anticipatory action simulation and perception in expert brains
New Frontiers in Mirror Neurons Research

Lucia Maria Sacheli

Salvatore Maria Aglioti

Matteo Candidi

Oxford University Press

Knowledge about upcoming actions is fundamentally important to anticipate rather than react to the actions of other individuals. Influential theoretical models suggest that the human motor system is “designed” to be an anticipation device and that it predicts what others are doing by implementing an inner motor simulation process. Multimodal, perceptuomotor, multiple-duty cells (mirror neurons) may also play an important function in action anticipation. Data indicate that the superior predictive ability of individuals who achieve excellence in a given cognitive-motor domain is inherently linked to a modulatory, fine-tuning activity that expertise exerts on somatosensory and motor systems. Phenomena and neural correlates of the anticipatory action mapping in elite athletes and expert pianists are reviewed, providing support for the hypothesis that one’s own sensorimotor representations are used for the predictive readout of actions and intentions of others. In addition, the possibly crucial role of predictive coding in social motor interactions is highlighted.

Keywords:   expertise, simulation, athlete, action anticipation, perceptuomotor, sensorimotor

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