I recently read a paper in Experimental Brain Research (91:176-180, 1992)
by G. di Pellegrino, L. Fadiga, L. Fogassi, V. Gallese, and G.Rizzolatti
with the title "Understanding motor events: a neurophysiological study".
In this paper the authors report that they have found neurons (of the
rostral part of the inferior premotor cortex of the monkey) that, apart
from discharging during goal-directed hand movements such as grasping,
holding and tearing, they also become active when the monkey observes
specific, meaningfull hand movements performed by the experimenters.
Some neurons were activated _only_ by movements of the experimenters
that closely coincided with those that activate the neuron when
performed by the monkey.
Is anyone familiar with other work along these lines? I am trying to
devise a biologically plausible computational model of an imitation
mechanism (where an agent (robot or simulated) will observe the
actions of another agent (human, robot, or simulated) and repeat
its actions). According to Dr. A. Meltzoff (Univ. of Washington)
and other psychologists, there is good evidence that infants
might be born with such (hard-wired) mechanisms to imitate. I
am trying to find out if the work above ties with this work.
I would be grateful if someone could point me some other references
regarding similar work (or more recent papers from the same authors
on these issues). Please email me at johnde at aifh.ed.ac.uk, and I will
summarize the responses.
Thanks in advance!
John Demiris http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/students/johnde
Dept. of Artificial Intelligence email: johnde at aifh.ed.ac.uk
University of Edinburgh,
Edinburgh, EH1 2QL, Scotland, UK