Neural correlates of action observation and execution in 14-month-old infants: an event-related EEG desynchronization study


Peter J. Marshall, Department of Psychology, Weiss Hall, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19087, USA; email:


There is increasing interest in neurobiological methods for investigating the shared representation of action perception and production in early development. We explored the extent and regional specificity of EEG desynchronization in the infant alpha frequency range (6–9 Hz) during action observation and execution in 14-month-old infants. Desynchronization during execution was restricted to central electrode sites, while action observation was associated with a broader desynchronization across frontal, central, and parietal regions. The finding of regional specificity in the overlap between EEG responses to action execution and observation suggests that the rhythm seen in the 6–9 Hz range over central sites in infancy shares certain properties with the adult mu rhythm. The magnitude of EEG desynchronization to action perception and production appears to be smaller for infants than for adults and older children, suggesting developmental change in this measure.