Assessment of the Reactivity and Localization of EEG α-Rhythm Frequency Components on Execution and Observation of Movements

A total of 67 adult subjects took part in studies of the amplitude of the lower (α1) and upper (α2) frequency components of EEG α activity, using individually defined ranges, during execution of circular movements of a computer mouse and during observation of another person carrying out this movement. Topographic specificity was demonstrated for the α2 rhythm, and this rhythm was found to have greater amplitude reactivity than the low-frequency component on execution of movements. The sources of rhythms were identified by low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (sLORETA). Both execution and observation of the execution of movements produced similar activation of a number of structures presumptively belonging to the so-called “mirror” system of the brain (precuneus and cingulate gyrus, for the α1 rhythm; inferior parietal lobe, supramarginal and angular gyri, superior and middle temporal gyri, and insular cortex for the α2 rhythm). A significantly greater number of activated voxels was seen in some structures of the right hemisphere than in the left. In the case of executed movements, this phenomenon could be explained in terms of increased needs for subjects’ visuomotor coordination (holding the computer mouse cursor within a specified area of the screen). On observation of movements executed by others, additional activation of the right hemisphere could be due to the social context of the task being performed, supposing attribution of the observed actions to another person. These data can be evaluated as additional evidence supporting the hypothesis of the functional significance of the mirror system of the brain and its involvement in the process of perceiving the movements of another person. The study results also evidence the potential of using a standard computer mouse as an object for operant movement in studies of the neurophysiological mechanisms of motor activity and observations thereof.

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Correspondence to V. B. Pavlenko.

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Translated from Rossiiskii Fiziologicheskii Zhurnal imeni I. M. Sechenova, Vol. 105, No. 3, pp. 311–326, March, 2019.

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Nacharova, M.A., Makhin, S.A. & Pavlenko, V.B. Assessment of the Reactivity and Localization of EEG α-Rhythm Frequency Components on Execution and Observation of Movements. Neurosci Behav Physi 50, 468–478 (2020).

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  • movement execution
  • observation of movements
  • α rhythm
  • μ rhythm
  • low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (sLORETA)