A topographical organization for action representation in the human brain
Human Brain Mapping
How the human brain represents distinct motor features into a unique finalized action still remains undefined. Previous models proposed the distinct features of a motor act to be hierarchically organized in separated, but functionally interconnected, cortical areas. Here, we hypothesized that distinct patterns across a wide expanse of cortex may actually subserve a topographically organized coding of different categories of actions that represents, at a higher cognitive level and independently
... rom the distinct motor features, the action and its final aim as a whole. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging and pattern classification approaches on the neural responses of 14 right-handed individuals passively watching short movies of hand-performed tool-mediated, transitive, and meaningful intransitive actions, we were able to discriminate with a high accuracy and characterize the category-specific response patterns. Actions are distinctively coded in distributed and overlapping neural responses within an action-selective network, comprising frontal, parietal, lateral occipital and ventrotemporal regions. This functional organization, that we named action topography, subserves a higher-level and more abstract representation of finalized actions and has the capacity to provide unique representations for multiple categories of actions. Hum Brain Mapp 36:3832-3844, 2015. V C 2015 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com). r Human Brain Mapping 36:3832-3844 (2015) r This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.