AbstractElsner C, D'Ausilio A, Gredebäck G, Falck-Ytter T, & Fadiga L (2013) The motor cortex is causally related to predictive eyemovements during action observation. Neuropsychologia, 51, 488-492
We examined the hypothesis that predictive gaze during observation of other people's actions depends on the activation of corresponding action plans in the observer. Using transcranial magnetic stimulation and eye-tracking technology we found that stimulation of the motor hand area, but not of the leg area, slowed gaze predictive behavior (compared to no TMS). This result shows that predictive eye movements to others' action goals depend on a somatotopical recruitment of the observer's motor system. The study provides direct support for the view that a direct matching process implemented in the mirror-neuron system plays a functional role for real-time goal prediction.