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Brain activity modulation during the production of imperative and declarative pointing

Committeri, Giorgia and Cirillo, Simona and Costantini, Marcello and Galati, Gaspare and Romani, Gian Luca and Aureli, Tiziana (2015) 'Brain activity modulation during the production of imperative and declarative pointing.' NeuroImage, 109. pp. 449-457. ISSN 1053-8119

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Pointing is a communicative gesture, commonly used for expressing two main intentions: imperative, to obtain a desired object/action from the other, or declarative, to share attention/interest about a referent with the other. Previous neuroimaging research on adults examined pointing almost exclusively as a reaching-like motor act rather than as a communicative gesture. Here, we used fMRI to record brain activity while 16 participants produced either imperative or declarative pointing gestures within a communicative context. A network of regions (the bilateral ventral premotor cortex, anterior midcingulate cortex, middle insula and the right preSMA) showed a preference for the production of declarative pointing as opposed to imperative pointing. The right preSMA also preferred declarative intention during pointing observation. Instead, independently from the intention, the right pMTG was more active during pointing observation than production. In the bilateral posterior parietal reach region we also observed a side (contra. >. ipsi) effect when the intention was imperative, regardless of the subject's role in the communication.Based on these results, we propose that pointing with declarative intention recruits a network of regions associated with will, motivation, emotional/affective expression and intersubjectivity, whereas pointing with imperative intention recruits regions associated with reaching. The proposal is consistent with the developmental hypothesis that declarative pointing reflects social cognitive abilities more than imperative pointing and establishes a stimulating link for future interdisciplinary research.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fingers; Brain; Humans; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Brain Mapping; Gestures; Motor Activity; Adult; Female; Male; Young Adult
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2015 11:11
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2022 01:03

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