Three experiments were performed to study observational learning using behavioral, perceptual, and neurophysiological data. Experiment 1 investigated whether observing an execution model, during physical practice of a transitive task that only presented one execution strategy, led to performance improvements compared with physical practice alone. Experiment 2 investigated whether performing an observational learning protocol improves subjects' action perception. In experiment 3 we evaluated whether the type of practice performed determined the activation of the Mirror Neuron System during action observation. Results showed that, compared with physical practice, observing an execution model during a task that only showed one execution strategy does not provide behavioral benefits. However, an observational learning protocol allows subjects to predict more precisely the outcome of the learned task. Finally, intersperse observation of an execution model with physical practice results in changes of primary motor cortex activity during the observation of the motor pattern previously practiced, whereas modulations in the connectivity between primary and non primary motor areas (PMv-M1; PPC-M1) were not affected by the practice protocol performed by the observer.
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