The role of the right temporoparietal junction in the control of imitation.
Bottom Line: Brain imaging studies have implicated the right temporoparietal junction (rTPJ) in this ability, but causal evidence for its role is lacking.Neuronavigated repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation was used to target the rTPJ (and a control mid-occipital site) during a task requiring participants to switch between representations of others' actions on both a social and a nonsocial level, by manipulating imitative and spatial compatibility simultaneously and independently.This suggests that the rTPJ is involved in switching between self and other representations, and further, that this process may not be entirely domain general.
Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK.Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus
Mentions: Catmur and Heyes (2011) demonstrated that both imitative and spatial compatibility effects can be obtained in the same task by crossing the factors of imitative and spatial compatibility. Thus, on any given standard trial, the task-irrelevant action is either imitatively incompatible or imitatively compatible; and either spatially incompatible or compatible, resulting in 4 different trial types (Fig. 1A). Here, we used a modified version of Catmur and Heyes’ (2011) task with the addition of baseline trials (Wiggett et al. 2013) in which the cue to lift is accompanied by a pixelated image of the resting task-irrelevant hand. The inclusion of these baseline trials can be considered an appropriate control task, as they produce the same temporal alerting effects as the task-irrelevant actions in standard trials and allow the measurement of baseline RTs without the influence of task-irrelevant actions. Such a control task is crucial in revealing whether rTPJ stimulation has an effect simply on one's ability to perform instructed finger lifts in the absence of compatible and incompatible task-irrelevant stimuli.Figure 1.
Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK.