The current research investigates the role of tactile information and its associated neural substrates in controlling the action. We employ a combination of motor and sensory components by asking participants to imagine exerting force with the index finger while either touching or not touching a surface. Assuming action imagination and action performance present similar patterns of activation along the motor system, we applied single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation over the primary motor cortex (M1) during action imagination. We observed increased amplitude of motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) of the relevant muscle when imagined actions were performed concurrently with tactile stimulation, suggesting a facilitatory effect of touch on the motor system. The motor system activity was scaled-based on the different amounts of force required, and crucially, this effect was specific to the body part involved in the action imagined. An intriguing positive correlation was observed between participants' ratings of their imagery level of vividness and the activation of the motor system, indicating that those participants exhibiting MEPs scaled correctly also had strong visualization abilities, as reflected by their capacity to accurately distinguish between varying levels of force.

The touch in action: exploring sensorimotor interactions with motor imagery

Ali, Yumna;Montani, Veronica;Cesari, Paola
2023-01-01

Abstract

The current research investigates the role of tactile information and its associated neural substrates in controlling the action. We employ a combination of motor and sensory components by asking participants to imagine exerting force with the index finger while either touching or not touching a surface. Assuming action imagination and action performance present similar patterns of activation along the motor system, we applied single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation over the primary motor cortex (M1) during action imagination. We observed increased amplitude of motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) of the relevant muscle when imagined actions were performed concurrently with tactile stimulation, suggesting a facilitatory effect of touch on the motor system. The motor system activity was scaled-based on the different amounts of force required, and crucially, this effect was specific to the body part involved in the action imagined. An intriguing positive correlation was observed between participants' ratings of their imagery level of vividness and the activation of the motor system, indicating that those participants exhibiting MEPs scaled correctly also had strong visualization abilities, as reflected by their capacity to accurately distinguish between varying levels of force.
2023
action imagination
force production
haptic touch
motor cortex
transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1090926
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