Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain Patterns The Same Whether Doing Or Just Watching, Queen’s Researcher Discovers

Date:
August 14, 2003
Source:
Queen's University
Summary:
New findings from a Queen's behavioural expert in eye/hand movement provide the first direct evidence that our brain patterns are similar whether we are actually doing something or simply watching someone else do it.

New findings from a Queen's behavioural expert in eye/hand movement provide the first direct evidence that our brain patterns are similar whether we are actually doing something or simply watching someone else do it.

It's an insight that could have significant implications for the assessment of people with various movement disorders such as some stroke victims, says Dr. Randy Flanagan, who conducted the study with Dr. Roland Johansson of Umea University in Sweden.

The methods employed in the study could be used to determine whether people with impaired movement control also have problems understanding and perceiving the actions of others. The answer to this question will have implications for both diagnosis and assessment.

"This helps to explain how we understand the movements of others," Dr. Flanagan says. "We perceive an action by running it at some covert level in our own system. An example would be when sports fans watch football on TV and move in anticipation of action on the screen."

Although this theory is supported by previous neuro-physiological and brain imaging studies, until now there has been little direct, behavioural evidence.

Dr. Flanagan's findings are published this week in the current edition of Nature.

The study builds on earlier findings by other researchers showing that some brain cells fire not only when picking up an object, but also when watching an experimenter do the same thing. Rather than mere imitation, Dr. Flanagan believed that such neural activity was a way of understanding the action in anticipation of performing it.

The current Queen's study uses human subjects to examine patterns of eye-hand coordination when performing and observing a simple block-stacking task. The researchers discovered that, both in watching and performing the task, people's gaze pattern is the same.

When watching a task being performed, subjects don't simply follow the movement of hand and block with their eyes. Instead, their gaze shifts in anticipation of the next move, and the brain patterns mimic those of someone actually doing the task.

"These results indicate that eye movements while observing an action task are linked with parts of the neural processes for planning and controlling manual action," says Dr. Flanagan. "This may provide insights into how we learn to perform tasks by watching." Measuring eye movements in people while they observe skilled tasks will help us assess whether the subjects are learning the task, by determining whether their eye movements match those of the skilled performer, he adds.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen's University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "Brain Patterns The Same Whether Doing Or Just Watching, Queen’s Researcher Discovers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/08/030814071840.htm>.
Queen's University. (2003, August 14). Brain Patterns The Same Whether Doing Or Just Watching, Queen’s Researcher Discovers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/08/030814071840.htm
Queen's University. "Brain Patterns The Same Whether Doing Or Just Watching, Queen’s Researcher Discovers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/08/030814071840.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins