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Action observation and execution: What is shared?

Abstract : Performing an action and observing it activate the same internal representations of action. The representations are therefore shared between self and other (shared representations of action, SRA). But what exactly is shared? At what level within the hierarchical structure of the motor system do SRA occur? Understanding the content of SRA is important in order to decide what theoretical work SRA can perform. In this paper, we provide some conceptual clarification by raising three main questions: (i) are SRA semantic or pragmatic representations of action?; (ii) are SRA sensory or motor representations?; (iii) are SRA representations of the action as a global unit or as a set of elementary motor components? After outlining a model of the motor hierarchy, we conclude that the best candidate for SRA is intentions in action, defined as the motor plans of the dynamic sequence of movements. We shed new light on SRA by highlighting the causal efficacy of intentions in action. This in turn explains phenomena such as inhibition of imitation.
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Contributor : Frédérique de Vignemont <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, January 13, 2009 - 11:08:11 AM
Last modification on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 9:58:02 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, November 26, 2016 - 4:20:34 AM


  • HAL Id : ijn_00352453, version 1



Frédérique de Vignemont. Action observation and execution: What is shared?. Social Neuroscience, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2008, pp.421-433. ⟨ijn_00352453⟩



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