We have over 12,000 students, from over 100 countries, within one of the safest campuses in the UK


97% of Lancaster students go into work or further study within six months of graduating

Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > From visuo-motor couplings to observational lea...
View graph of relations

« Back

From visuo-motor couplings to observational learning: Behavioural and brain imaging studies.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2/03/2007
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Sports Sciences
Number of pages21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


We review three areas of research and theory relating to the involvement of motor processing in action observation: behavioural studies on imitation learning, behavioural work on short-term visuomotor interactions, and related neurophysiological and neuroimaging work. A large number of behavioural studies now indicate bi-directional links between perception and action: visual processing can automatically induce related motor processes, and motor actions can direct future visual processing. The related concept of direct matching (Rizzolatti et al., 2001) does not, however, imply that observed actions are transduced into a corresponding motor representation that would guarantee an instant and accurate imitation. Rather, studies on the mirror neuron system indicate that action observation engages the observer's own motor prototype of the observed action. This allows for enhanced action recognition, imitation recognition, and, predominantly in humans, imitation and observational learning. Despite the clear impact of action observation on motor representations, recent neuroimaging work also indicates the overlap of imitation learning with processes of non-imitative skill acquisition.