Imitation Strategies in Callosotomized Patients.

Research paper by C C Pierpaoli, N N Foschi, C C Cagnetti, L L Ferrante, T T Manzoni, G G Polonara, M M Fabri

Indexed on: 25 Jul '18Published on: 25 Jul '18Published in: Archives italiennes de biologie


Imitation is a human ability rooted in early life. It allows people to interact with each other by observing and reproducing simple and complex movements alike. Imitation can occur in at least two forms: the rst, de ned as anatomical, seems to be based primarily on the mental construct of the "body schema" because the imitating movement corresponds precisely to the imitated movement in bodily terms, but not in terms of spatial compatibility. For example, a right arm movement of a model is imitated with a right arm movement by a facing imitator in a spatially incompatible fashion. The other form, de ned as specular or mirror-mode, involves a spatially compatible matching between imitated and imitating movements, as when an imitator moves her right arm upon viewing a corresponding left arm movement of a facing model (Chiavarino et al., 2007). In a previous study, healthy subjects showed a slight (61%) preference for the specular mode when freely imitating meaningful and meaningless gestures, whereas they strongly preferred the anatomical mode (93%) when given an intentionally ambiguous instruction such as "use the same (or the opposite) limb as the model" (Pierpaoli et al., 2014). In the present investigation it has been shown that callosotomized patients tended to favour the mirror-mode in both the free (66%) and the instructed condition (61% responses in driven sessions) regardless instructions given by the experimenter. Moreover, present data suggest that the extent of the callosotomy may in uence the patient's performance.