Why I tense up when you watch me: inferior parietal cortex mediates an audience’s influence on motor performance

Yoshie, Michiko, Nagai, Yoko, Critchley, Hugo D and Harrison, Neil A (2016) Why I tense up when you watch me: inferior parietal cortex mediates an audience’s influence on motor performance. Scientific Reports, 6. p. 19305. ISSN 2045-2322

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The presence of an evaluative audience can alter skilled motor performance through changes in force
output. To investigate how this is mediated within the brain, we emulated real-time social monitoring
of participants’ performance of a fine grip task during functional magnetic resonance neuroimaging.
We observed an increase in force output during social evaluation that was accompanied by focal
reductions in activity within bilateral inferior parietal cortex. Moreover, deactivation of the left inferior
parietal cortex predicted both inter- and intra-individual differences in socially-induced change in grip
force. Social evaluation also enhanced activation within the posterior superior temporal sulcus, which
conveys visual information about others’ actions to the inferior parietal cortex. Interestingly, functional
connectivity between these two regions was attenuated by social evaluation. Our data suggest that
social evaluation can vary force output through the altered engagement of inferior parietal cortex; a
region implicated in sensorimotor integration necessary for object manipulation, and a component
of the action-observation network which integrates and facilitates performance of observed actions.
Social-evaluative situations may induce high-level representational incoherence between one’s
own intentioned action and the perceived intention of others which, by uncoupling the dynamics of
sensorimotor facilitation, could ultimately perturbe motor output.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Neuroscience
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Depositing User: Jonathan Williams
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2016 13:22
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2017 17:39
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/59654

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