According to the traditional view, the motor system of the cerebral cortex has the fundamental role of driving and controlling movement execution. However, the neurophysiological and anatomical data of the last thirty years demonstrated that the main task of the motor cortex is rather that of coding the motor goals. In fact, motor cortex contains a neural storage of motor representations that are used for the sensorimotor transformations necessary for performing goal-directed actions and, at the same time, code important cognitive functions such as space and object representation and recognition of others’ behaviour. In this chapter, it will be described first how space coding and object coding are represented in dedicated frontoparietal networks. Then, most of the chapter will be focused on the description of the functional properties of another frontoparietal network, the mirror neuron system. Firstly, the basic and the most recent characteristics of mirror neurons in the monkey will be presented. Secondly, the main features of the mirror neuron system in humans will be described. The last part of this chapter will be concentrated on two social cognitive functions based on the mirror neuron mechanism: imitation and understanding of others’ motor intentions.

The cognitive properties of the motor system and mirror neurons / Fogassi, Leonardo. - STAMPA. - 38(2017), pp. 3-17. [10.1007/978-3-319-66881-9_1]

The cognitive properties of the motor system and mirror neurons

Fogassi leonardo
2017

Abstract

According to the traditional view, the motor system of the cerebral cortex has the fundamental role of driving and controlling movement execution. However, the neurophysiological and anatomical data of the last thirty years demonstrated that the main task of the motor cortex is rather that of coding the motor goals. In fact, motor cortex contains a neural storage of motor representations that are used for the sensorimotor transformations necessary for performing goal-directed actions and, at the same time, code important cognitive functions such as space and object representation and recognition of others’ behaviour. In this chapter, it will be described first how space coding and object coding are represented in dedicated frontoparietal networks. Then, most of the chapter will be focused on the description of the functional properties of another frontoparietal network, the mirror neuron system. Firstly, the basic and the most recent characteristics of mirror neurons in the monkey will be presented. Secondly, the main features of the mirror neuron system in humans will be described. The last part of this chapter will be concentrated on two social cognitive functions based on the mirror neuron mechanism: imitation and understanding of others’ motor intentions.
978-3-319-66880-2
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11381/2882764
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