Variability of EEG synchronization prior to and during observation and execution of a sequential finger movement

Claire Calmels, Paul Holmes, Gilbert Jarry, Magaly Hars, Emilie Lopez, Aurore Paillard, Cornelis J Stam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The aim of this study was to test the validity of mirror neuron activity in humans through analysis of electroencephalographic (EEG) functional connectivity during an action not directed towards an object. We investigated changes in EEG interchannel synchronization prior to and during action execution and also prior to and during observation of the same action. Twelve participants observed a simple finger movement sequence. In a second testing session they physically executed the movement. EEGs were recorded from 19 active sites across the cortex. Activity was considered in four frequency bands (7-10 Hz, 10-13 Hz, 13-20 Hz, and 20-30 Hz) using a new measure: synchronization likelihood. This technique considers rapid changes in signal synchronization and spatiotemporal patterns of coherence. The results revealed no statistically significant difference in synchronization likelihood between the observation and execution data. We found an increase in synchronization over a broad frequency range during task processing and suggest that this may reflect interregional cortical coupling of intricately and hierarchically interconnected networks that are active in a similar way during both observation and execution of a movement. While EEG may be insensitive to differences present during the observation and execution of a movement, the results of the present study shed some light on the general mechanisms of cognitive integration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-66
Number of pages16
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006

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