Mirror-image representation of action in the anterior parietal cortex

Nat Neurosci. 2008 Nov;11(11):1267-9. doi: 10.1038/nn.2196. Epub 2008 Sep 28.


Mimicking hand actions made by someone facing us (that is, allocentric viewpoint) is typically performed with the opposite hand. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we found a similar mirror-image representation of others' actions in the human anterior parietal cortex. Viewing egocentric-based actions elicited greater fMRI activation in the contralteral hemisphere (as in, self action), whereas observation of action seen from an allocentric viewpoint generated greater activation in the ipsilateral hemisphere. This mirror-like mapping occurs without active imitation, providing further evidence for an automatic action-simulation system in the parietal cortex.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Imitative Behavior / physiology*
  • Linear Models
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Parietal Lobe / blood supply
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology


  • Oxygen