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Joseph DeSouza, Paula Di Noto, Gabriella Levkov, Rachel Bar; Extrastriate Body Area (EBA) Activation is Greatest During Viewing of a Dance Sequence Compared to Visualization and Movement: Evidence for Learning and Expertise Effects. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):667. doi: 10.1167/14.10.667.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Overlapping regions of the mirror neuron network (MNN) are activated to varying extents during viewing, visualization, and execution of movement (Grèzes and Decety, 2001). Although recent evidence has implicated the extrastriate body area (EBA) as a compensatory visuomotor processing area (van Nuenen et al., 2012, Urgesi et al., 2007), its role in motor execution continues to be debated (Astafiev et al. 2004; Peelen and Downing 2005) and the influences of learning and expertise on EBA activation remain unknown. To clarify the role of EBA in the MNN, we scanned 11 expert ballet dancers and 10 controls using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during three tasks: viewing a ballet dance, visualizing a ballet dance, and a motor localizer task. The expert group was scanned up to four times over a 34-week programme to ascertain any putative learning effects within the EBA. Our results show that the viewing task elicited the strongest bilateral EBA activation (left EBA: F(2,30) = 76.31, P<0.001, right EBA: F(2,34)= 51.171, P<0.001), with evidence for learning effects and increased bilateral activation during the visualization task over time (P<0.05). Finally, significant contralateral EBA activation during movement execution in control subjects only demonstrates its modulation with experience (PBonf<0.05). These results provide a composite of the role played by the EBA as a higher-order visual processing area within the MNN, primarily subserving action observation of complex sequences of naturalistic whole-body movement and modified by experience and motor learning.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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