Localization of grasp representations in humans by PET: 1. Observation versus execution

Exp Brain Res. 1996 Sep;111(2):246-52. doi: 10.1007/BF00227301.


Positron emission tomography (PET) was used to localize brain regions that are active during the observation of grasping movements. Normal, right-handed subjects were tested under three conditions. In the first, they observed grasping movements of common objects performed by the experimenter. In the second, they reached and grasped the same objects. These two conditions were compared with a third condition consisting of object observation. On the basis of monkey data, it was hypothesized that during grasping observation, activations should be present in the region of the superior temporal sulcus (STS) and in inferior area 6. The findings in humans demonstrated that grasp observation significantly activates the cortex of the middle temporal gyrus including that of the adjacent superior temporal sulcus (Brodmann's area 21) and the caudal part of the left inferior frontal gyrus (Brodmann's area 45). The possible functional homologies between these areas and the monkey STS region and frontal area F5 are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology*
  • Gyrus Cinguli / diagnostic imaging
  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetics
  • Male
  • Motor Cortex / diagnostic imaging*
  • Motor Cortex / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Temporal Lobe / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*