The inXuence of goals on movement kinematics during imitation

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    This study took a quantitative approach to investigate movement kinematics during the imitation of goal-directed and non-goal directed movements. Motion tracking equipment was used to record the hand movements of 15 healthy participants during an imitation task involving aiming movements that varied in speed. We predicted that movement kinematics would be most similar to the observed movements in the non-goal condition, as a result of direct visuomotor mapping of the action, and least similar in the goal-directed condition because more importance would be given to the end goal. We also predicted that precues (prior information about the movement) would increase imitation accuracy in the non-goal condition by reducing cognitive demand, and that precues would reduce accuracy in the goal-directed condition, as less attention would be paid to the movement. Results showed that imitation was modulated by the speed of the observed action in the non-goal condition only. Contrary to predictions, precues did not improve imitation in the non-goal condition or improve imitation accuracy in the goal-directed condition. These results demonstrate that visuomotor mapping is favoured in non-goal imitation, regardless of prior information, and that accurate imitation of movement detail is compromised by the presence of goals. Such diVerences in movement kinematics indicate that diVerent processes mediate the imitation of non-goal and goal-directed actions. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)353-360
    Number of pages7
    JournalExperimental brain research
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


    • Action
    • GOADI
    • Goals
    • Imitation
    • Visuomotor


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