Observation of sonified movements engages a basal ganglia frontocortical network

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Schmitz, Gerd
Mohammadi, Bahram
Hammer, Anke
Heldmann, Marcus
Samii, Amir
Münte, Thomas F.
Effenberg, Alfred O.

Background Producing sounds by a musical instrument can lead to audiomotor coupling, i.e. the joint activation of the auditory and motor system, even when only one modality is probed. The sonification of otherwise mute movements by sounds based on kinematic parameters of the movement has been shown to improve motor performance and perception of movements. Results Here we demonstrate in a group of healthy young non-athletes that congruently (sounds match visual movement kinematics) vs. incongruently (no match) sonified breaststroke movements of a human avatar lead to better perceptual judgement of small differences in movement velocity. Moreover, functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed enhanced activity in superior and medial posterior temporal regions including the superior temporal sulcus, known as an important multisensory integration site, as well as the insula bilaterally and the precentral gyrus on the right side. Functional connectivity analysis revealed pronounced connectivity of the STS with the basal ganglia and thalamus as well as frontal motor regions for the congruent stimuli. This was not seen to the same extent for the incongruent stimuli. Conclusions We conclude that sonification of movements amplifies the activity of the human action observation system including subcortical structures of the motor loop. Sonification may thus be an important method to enhance training and therapy effects in sports science and neurological rehabilitation.

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BMC Neuroscience 14.32 (2013): 27.03.2013 <http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2202/14/32>

BMC Neuroscience 14.32 (2013): 27.03.2013 http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2202/14/32

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