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Motor simulation and the coordination of self and other in real-time joint action

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Novembre,  Giacomo
Max Planck Research Group Music Cognition and Action, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Ticini,  Luca Francesco
Max Planck Research Group Body and Self, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Schütz-Bosbach,  Simone
Max Planck Research Group Body and Self, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Keller,  Peter E.
Max Planck Research Group Music Cognition and Action, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
The MARCS Institute, University of Western Sydney, Australia;

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Citation

Novembre, G., Ticini, L. F., Schütz-Bosbach, S., & Keller, P. E. (2014). Motor simulation and the coordination of self and other in real-time joint action. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 9(8), 1062-1068. doi:10.1093/scan/nst086.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0014-5E06-3
Abstract
Joint actions require the integration of simultaneous self- and other-related behaviour. Here, we investigated whether this function is underpinned by motor simulation, that is the capacity to represent a perceived action in terms of the neural resources required to execute it. This was tested in a music performance experiment wherein on-line brain stimulation (double-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation, dTMS) was employed to interfere with motor simulation. Pianists played the right-hand part of piano pieces in synchrony with a recording of the left-hand part, which had (Trained) or had not (Untrained) been practiced beforehand. Training was assumed to enhance motor simulation. The task required adaptation to tempo changes in the left-hand part that, in critical conditions, were preceded by dTMS delivered over the right primary motor cortex. Accuracy of tempo adaptation following dTMS or sham stimulations was compared across Trained and Untrained conditions. Results indicate that dTMS impaired tempo adaptation accuracy only during the perception of trained actions. The magnitude of this interference was greater in empathic individuals possessing a strong tendency to adopt others’ perspectives. These findings suggest that motor simulation provides a functional resource for the temporal coordination of one’s own behaviour with others in dynamic social contexts.