Journal Article

Misconceptions about Mirror-Induced Motor Cortex Activation

Peter Praamstra, Laura Torney, Christian J. Rawle and R. Chris Miall

in Cerebral Cortex

Volume 21, issue 8, pages 1935-1940
Published in print August 2011 | ISSN: 1047-3211
Published online January 2011 | e-ISSN: 1460-2199 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhq270

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Observation of self-produced hand movements through a mirror, creating an illusion of the opposite hand moving, was recently reported to induce ipsilateral motor cortex activation, that is, motor cortex activation for the hand in rest. The reported work goes far beyond earlier work on motor cortex activation induced by action observation, by implying a complete reversal of contralateral and ipsilateral motor cortex activation under mirror view conditions. Such a reversal would represent an unprecedented degree of neural plasticity. We considered such a reversal physiologically implausible and conducted a study with an improved design. The results refute the reversal of contralateral and ipsilateral motor cortex activation under mirrored viewing conditions as methodologically unsound. The investigation confirmed, however, more subtle expressions of motor cortical activity induced by self-produced movements observed through a mirror.

Keywords: electroencephalography; lateralized readiness potential; mirror visual feedback; motor cortex; movement-related potentials; visuomotor adaptation

Journal Article.  4141 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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