The neural substrate of gesture recognition.

TitleThe neural substrate of gesture recognition.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsVillarreal, Mirta, Fridman Esteban A., Amengual Alejandra, Falasco German, Gerschcovich Eliana Roldan, Gerscovich Eliana Roldan, Ulloa Erlinda R., and Leiguarda Ramon C.
Date Published2008
KeywordsAdult, Dominance, Cerebral, Female, Frontal Lobe, Functional Laterality, Gestures, Humans, Imitative Behavior, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Middle Aged, Observation, Occipital Lobe, Parietal Lobe, Psychomotor Performance, Recognition (Psychology), Temporal Lobe, Visual Cortex

Previous studies have linked action recognition with a particular pool of neurons located in the ventral premotor cortex, the posterior parietal cortex and the superior temporal sulcus (the mirror neuron system). However, it is still unclear if transitive and intransitive gestures share the same neural substrates during action-recognition processes. In the present study, we used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to assess the cortical areas active during recognition of pantomimed transitive actions, intransitive gestures, and meaningless control actions. Perception of all types of gestures engaged the right pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA), and bilaterally in the posterior superior temporal cortex, the posterior parietal cortex, occipitotemporal regions and visual cortices. Activation of the posterior superior temporal sulcus/superior temporal gyrus region was found in both hemispheres during recognition of transitive and intransitive gestures, and in the right hemisphere during the control condition; the middle temporal gyrus showed activation in the left hemisphere when subjects recognized transitive and intransitive gestures; activation of the left inferior parietal lobe and intraparietal sulcus (IPS) was mainly observed in the left hemisphere during recognition of the three conditions. The most striking finding was the greater activation of the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) during recognition of intransitive actions. Results show that a similar neural substrate, albeit, with a distinct engagement underlies the cognitive processing of transitive and intransitive gestures recognition. These findings suggest that selective disruptions in these circuits may lead to distinct clinical deficits.

Alternate JournalNeuropsychologia
PubMed ID18433807

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