Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Using action observation to study superior motor performance: a pilot fMRI study
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Population Studies (CPS). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4458-6475
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI).
2013 (English)In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-5161, Vol. 7, no 819Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The most efficient way to acquire motor skills may be through physical practice. Nevertheless, it has also been shown that action observation may improve motor performance. The aim of the present pilot study was to examine a potential action observation paradigm used to (1) capture the superior performance of expert athletes and (2) capture the underlying neural mechanisms of successful action observation in relation to task experience. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure regional blood flow while presenting videos of a hockey player shooting a puck toward a hockey goal. The videos (a total of 120) where stopped at different time frames with different amount of information provided, creating a paradigm with three different levels of difficulty to decide the fate of a shot. Since this was only a pilot study, we first tested the paradigm behaviorally on six elite expert hockey players, five intermediate players, and six non-hockey playing controls. The results showed that expert hockey players were significantly (p < 0.05) more accurate on deciding the fate of the action compared to the others. Thus, it appears as if the paradigm can capture superior performance of expert athletes (aim 1). We then tested three of the hockey players and three of the controls on the same paradigm in the MRI scanner to investigate the underlying neural mechanisms of successful action anticipation. The imaging results showed that when expert hockey players observed and correctly anticipated situations, they recruited motor and temporal regions of the brain. Novices, on the other hand, relied on visual regions during observation and prefrontal regions during action decision. Thus, the results from the imaging data suggest that different networks of the brain are recruited depending on task experience (aim 2). In conclusion, depending on the level of motor skill of the observer, when correctly anticipating actions different neural systems will be recruited.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Research Foundation , 2013. Vol. 7, no 819
Keyword [en]
motor representations, action observation, fMRI, expert performance, cognitive neuroscience
National Category
Neurosciences Psychology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-83137DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00819OAI: diva2:665049
Swedish National Centre for Research in Sports
Available from: 2013-11-18 Created: 2013-11-18 Last updated: 2015-10-08Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(4318 kB)268 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 4318 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Olsson, Carl-JohanLundström, Peter
By organisation
Centre for Population Studies (CPS)Umeå Centre for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI)
In the same journal
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 268 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 83 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link