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Goal representation in human anterior intraparietal sulcus

, : Goal representation in human anterior intraparietal sulcus. Journal of Neuroscience 26(4): 1133-1137

When a child reaches toward a cookie, the watching parent knows immediately what the child wants. The neural basis of this ability to interpret other people's actions in terms of their goals has been the subject of much speculation. Research with infants has shown that 6 month olds respond when they see an adult reach to a novel goal but habituate when an adult reaches to the same goal repeatedly. We used a similar approach in an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment. Adult participants observed a series of movies depicting goal-directed actions, with the sequence controlled so that some goals were novel and others repeated relative to the previous movie. Repeated presentation of the same goal caused a suppression of the blood oxygen level-dependent response in two regions of the left intraparietal sulcus. These regions were not sensitive to the trajectory taken by the actor's hand. This result demonstrates that the anterior intraparietal sulcus represents the goal of an observed action.


PMID: 16436599

DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4551-05.2006

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