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Chapter 11

Chapter 11

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Gabriela Ilie

Chapter 11 - Motor Cognition and Mental Simulation Putting ourselves into someone elses shoes requires motor cognition Motor cognition is mental processing in which the motor system draws on stored information to plan and produce actions and also allows us to anticipate, predict and interpret the actions of others The nature of motor cognition Action is a visible manifestation of a series of mental processes. These same mental processes involved in acting can be used in thinking about actions without actually performing them Movement is a voluntary displacement of a body part in physical space. Action is a series of movements that must be accomplished in order to reach a goal. Therefore, action is goal directed and movement is not goal directed Motor cognition involves all the mental processes involved in the planning, preparation and production of our own actions and also includes the mental processes involved in anticipating, predicting and interpreting the actions of others Perception-Action Cycles Perception-action cycle involves the transformation of perceived patterns into co-ordinated patterns of movement i.e. we perceive the situation and based on the perception execute our actions. We move to perceive and perceive so that we can move Perception not only helps us examine objects and events but also provides us with guidance and feedback of the movement therefore, helps us recognize which movements are helpful and which are not Perception and action are mutually interdependent and motor cognition involves the interaction of them. Perception and action share their mental representations The content of perceptions (i.e. analyzing the situation) and intentions (mental plans designed to achieve a goal through action) involve perceptual and motor systems The Nature of Motor Processing in the Brain 1 www.notesolution.com Motor cognition involves 3 main motor areas: i. Supplementary motor area (SMA); involves setting up and executing action plans. ii. Premotor area (PM); is involved in setting up programs for specific sequences of actions and sends the input to the motor area iii. Motor Area (M1); neurons in this area control fine motor movements and send the fibers out of the brain to the muscles The three motor areas are believed to lie in a hierarchy with M1 at the bottom and SMA at the top. SMA is involved in planning most complex movements, premotor area is involved in less precisely specified sets of movements and M1 is responsible for exact specific movements. A study was conducted to determine the difference between performing a task and thinking about a task. In this study, monkeys were shown a specific sequence of lights and they were directed to press the lights as they appear (visually triggered action situation) or remember the sequence and press it without visual guidance (internally triggered action situation). The activity of M1, premotor area and SMA was recorded: i. M1 neurons showed similar activity in both conditions since the same movements were produced in both conditions ii. SMA neurons were more active in the internally triggered situation during the pre- movement and movement period indicating that the formulation of plan involves SMA iii. PM neurons were more active in the visually triggered situation in the pre-movement and movement period indicating that this area is involved in setting up specific movement sequences. Therefore, we know that formulating a plan in advance and organization of movement requires SMA and responding to an environmental cue and preparation of an exact action requires premotor area Also, the 3 motor areas interact in complex ways and there is no particular one direction of the flow of information Prefrontal cortex is involved in initiating a movement and temporal organization (i.e. holds the sequence of movements in a proper order) of action 2 www.notesolution.com
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