Observation and execution of movement: similarities demonstrated by quantified electroencephalography

Eur J Neurosci. 1999 May;11(5):1839-42. doi: 10.1046/j.1460-9568.1999.00598.x.


Quantified electroencephalography (qEEG) was used to compare cerebral electrical variations while human subjects (10 males and 10 females) were observing and executing finger movements and while they were resting. Video recording enabled elimination of subjects performing involuntary movements. EEGs were recorded from 14 sites in seven frequency bands: theta 1, theta 2, alpha 1, alpha, beta 1, beta 2 and beta 3. Analyses were performed on logarithmically transformed absolute spectral power values. Both observation and execution of finger movements involved a decrease in spectral power compared with resting. This decrease was significant only for the alpha 1 frequency band (7.5-10.5 Hz) and it involved nine of the 14 electrode locations (F7, F8, F4, T6, T5, C3, C4, P3 and P4). This indicates that the motor cortex and the frontal cortex are specifically activated by both observation and execution of finger movements. These results provide evidence that observation and execution of movement share the same cortical network.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Electroencephalography / methods*
  • Female
  • Fingers / physiology
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology*