The last Doctoral Research Seminar this semester will be on "Perceptual and cognitive functions of the brain’s motor system in the context of action prediction" by Dr. Waltraud Stadler, Chair of Human Movement Science/TUM.
Classical motor areas of the brain are involved in purely perceptual or cognitive tasks which are interpreted in the embodied cognition framework. I will present my research on the role of the motor system for the prediction of other people’s action. Using fMRI and non-invasive brain stimulation, my studies suggest that the premotor cortex prefers the prediction of observed action over memorizing action details and other tasks related to action observation. This was found in students watching daily actions, such as watering a plant, and in expert athletes predicting actions from their sport. The results of these studies further showed that the motor system’s contribution to action prediction and the configuration of the interacting network are modulated by several factors such as task requirements and conceptual biases such as shape and appearance of a moving body. I discuss these findings in the light of literature proposing that parts of our sensorimotor system, including the premotor cortex, have evolved to a domain-general system in charge of establishing, maintaining, and manipulating dynamic representations of the world (Schubotz 2007; Ptak et al., 2017).
February 6th, 2023 in room 2026, Karlstr. 45.