Pantomime of tool use: looking beyond apraxia

François Osiurak, Emanuelle Reynaud, Josselin Baumard, Yves Rossetti, Angela Bartolo, Mathieu Lesourd
2021 Brain Communications  
Pantomime has a long tradition in clinical neuropsychology of apraxia. It has been much more used by researchers and clinicians to assess tool-use disorders than real tool use. Nevertheless, it remains incompletely understood and has given rise to controversies, such as the involvement of the left inferior parietal lobe or the nature of the underlying cognitive processes. The present article offers a comprehensive framework, with the aim of specifying the neural and cognitive bases of
more » ... To do so, we conducted a series of meta-analyses of brain-lesion, neuroimaging, and behavioral studies about pantomime and other related tasks (i.e., real tool use, imitation of meaningless postures, and semantic knowledge). The first key finding is that the area PF (Area PF complex) within the left inferior parietal lobe is crucially involved in both pantomime and real tool use as well as in the kinematics component of pantomime. The second key finding is the absence of a well-defined neural substrate for the posture component of pantomime (both grip errors and body-part-as-tool responses). The third key finding is the role played by the intraparietal sulcus in both pantomime and imitation of meaningless postures. The fourth key finding is that the left angular gyrus seems to be critical in the production of motor actions directed toward the body. The fifth key finding is that performance on pantomime is strongly correlated with the severity of semantic deficits. Taken together, these findings invite us to offer a neurocognitive model of pantomime, which provides an integrated alternative to the two hypotheses that dominate the field: The gesture-engram hypothesis and the communicative hypothesis. More specifically, this model assumes that technical reasoning (notably the left area PF), the motor-control system (notably the intraparietal sulcus), body structural description (notably the left angular gyrus), semantic knowledge (notably the polar temporal lobes) and potentially theory of mind (notably the middle prefrontal cortex) work in concert to produce pantomime. The original features of this model open new avenues for understanding the neurocognitive bases of pantomime, emphasizing that pantomime is a communicative task that nevertheless originates in specific tool-use (not motor-related) cognitive processes.
doi:10.1093/braincomms/fcab263 pmid:35350708 pmcid:PMC8936430 fatcat:vrfnqe6eczd35jwzwxss2svnb4