Cortical activity prior to, and during, observation and execution of sequential finger movements

Claire Calmels, Paul Holmes, Gilbert Jarry, Jean-Michel Lévèque, Magaly Hars, Cornelis J Stam

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19 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to provide further evidence for the existence of a mirror neuron system in humans using electroencephalography during the observation and execution of non-object-related movements. Event-related desynchronization and synchronization (ERD/ERS) were used to characterize brain activity prior to, and during, observation and execution of a finger movement in four frequency bands (7-10 Hz, 10-13 Hz, 13-20 Hz, and 20-30 Hz). Electroencephalograms (EEGs) were recorded from 19 electrode sites in eight participants. In all the frequency bands and electrode sites, results revealed that there was no significant differences in EEG cortical activity between the observation condition and the execution conditions. Comparison of the two stages of the movement (i.e., pre-movement and movement) in the observation and execution conditions showed, in most cases, that pre-movement ERD values were less than movement ERD values. Whilst there was not an identical match of EEG cortical indices, this study provides further support for the existence of a mirror neuron system in humans. The incomplete congruence may be explained by the different behaviors, the nature of the task and factors in the observed action coded by the mirror system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-88
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Topography
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor/physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual/physiology
  • Fingers/innervation
  • Humans
  • Learning/physiology
  • Motor Cortex/cytology
  • Movement/physiology
  • Neurons/physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance/physiology
  • Visual Cortex/physiology

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