Article

Neural responses when learning spatial and object sequencing tasks via imitation

Citation

Renner E, White JP, Hamilton AFC & Subiaul F (2018) Neural responses when learning spatial and object sequencing tasks via imitation. PLoS One, 13 (8), Art. No.: e0201619. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0201619

Abstract
Humans often learn new things via imitation. Here we draw on studies of imitation in children to characterise the brain system(s) involved in the imitation of different sequence types using functional magnetic resonance imaging. On each trial, healthy adult participants learned one of two rule types governing the sequencing of three pictures: a motor-spatial rule (in the spatial task) or an object-based rule (in the cognitive task). Sequences were learned via one of three demonstration types: a video of a hand selecting items in the sequence using a joystick (Hand condition), a computer display highlighting each item in order (Ghost condition), or a text-based demonstration of the sequence (Text condition). Participants then used a joystick to execute the learned sequence. Patterns of activation during demonstration observation suggest specialisation for object-based imitation in inferior frontal gyrus, specialisation for spatial sequences in anterior intraparietal sulcus (IPS), and a general preference for imitation in middle IPS. Adult behavioural performance contrasted with that of children in previous studies—indicating that they experienced more difficulty with the cognitive task—while neuroimaging results support the engagement of different neural regions when solving these tasks. Further study is needed on whether children’s differential performance is related to delayed IPS maturation.

Keywords
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Journal
PLoS One: Volume 13, Issue 8

StatusPublished
FundersNational Science Foundation and European Commission
Publication date03/08/2018
Publication date online03/08/2018
Date accepted by journal18/07/2018
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/27654
eISSN1932-6203