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Keywords:

  • activation studies;
  • action generation;
  • simulation;
  • verbalization;
  • observation;
  • human

Abstract

There is a large body of psychological and neuroimaging experiments that have interpreted their findings in favor of a functional equivalence between action generation, action simulation, action verbalization, and perception of action. On the basis of these data, the concept of shared motor representations has been proposed. Indeed several authors have argued that our capacity to understand other people's behavior and to attribute intention or beliefs to others is rooted in a neural, most likely distributed, execution/observation mechanism. Recent neuroimaging studies have explored the neural network engaged during motor execution, simulation, verbalization, and observation. The focus of this meta-analysis is to evaluate in specific detail to what extent the activated foci elicited by these studies overlap. Hum. Brain Mapping 12:1–19, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.