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ApraxiaThe Cognitive side of motor control$
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Georg Goldenberg

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199591510

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199591510.001.0001

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Imitation: A direct route from vision to action?

Imitation: A direct route from vision to action?

Chapter:
(p.88) Chapter 6 Imitation: A direct route from vision to action?
Source:
Apraxia
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199591510.003.0006

Liepmann’s idea that imitation probes the transposition of a correct image of the intended action into appropriate motor command has been falsified by the observation of patients who fail imitation of meaningless gestures but can produce meaningful gestures both on command and in imitation. The alternative position, that there is a specialized direct route for imitation whose interruption causes a selective impairment of imitation, has gained plausibility by the detection of “mirror neurons” unifying vision and motor execution of gestures. The directness of the route from vision to motor execution is contradicted by experiments showing the connection to be malleable by contextual cues and by the observation that apraxic patients who fail imitation on their own body have similar problems when trying to replicate the body configuration on a manikin, although the motor actions of manipulating a manikin are fundamentally different from those of execution the gestures.

Keywords:   imitation, mirror neurons, motor control, apraxia

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