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Observed and executed movements

John Demiris johnde at aisb.ed.ac.uk
Tue Nov 7 11:27:08 EST 1995


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!

Best wishes,

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

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