Predicting the unfolding of others' actions (action prediction) is crucial for successfully navigating the social world and interacting efficiently. Age-related changes in this domain have remained largely unexplored, especially for predictions regarding simple gestures and independent of contextual information or motor expertise. Here, we evaluated whether healthy aging impacts the neurophysiological processes recruited to anticipate, from the observation of implied-motion postures, the correct conclusion of simple grasping and pointing actions. A color-discrimination task served as a control condition to assess the specificity of the age-related effects. Older adults showed reduced efficiency in performance that was yet not specific to the action prediction task. Nevertheless, fMRI results revealed task-specific age-related differences: while both groups showed stronger recruitment of the lateral occipito-temporal cortex bilaterally during the action prediction than the control task, the younger participants additionally showed a higher bilateral engagement of parietal regions. Importantly, in both groups, the recruitment of visuo-motor processes in the right posterior parietal cortex was a predictor of good performance. These results support the hypothesis of decreased involvement of sensorimotor processes in cognitive tasks when processing action- and body-related stimuli in healthy aging. These results have implications for social interaction, which requires the fast reading of others' gestures.

When action prediction grows old: An fMRI study

Banfi, Giuseppe;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Predicting the unfolding of others' actions (action prediction) is crucial for successfully navigating the social world and interacting efficiently. Age-related changes in this domain have remained largely unexplored, especially for predictions regarding simple gestures and independent of contextual information or motor expertise. Here, we evaluated whether healthy aging impacts the neurophysiological processes recruited to anticipate, from the observation of implied-motion postures, the correct conclusion of simple grasping and pointing actions. A color-discrimination task served as a control condition to assess the specificity of the age-related effects. Older adults showed reduced efficiency in performance that was yet not specific to the action prediction task. Nevertheless, fMRI results revealed task-specific age-related differences: while both groups showed stronger recruitment of the lateral occipito-temporal cortex bilaterally during the action prediction than the control task, the younger participants additionally showed a higher bilateral engagement of parietal regions. Importantly, in both groups, the recruitment of visuo-motor processes in the right posterior parietal cortex was a predictor of good performance. These results support the hypothesis of decreased involvement of sensorimotor processes in cognitive tasks when processing action- and body-related stimuli in healthy aging. These results have implications for social interaction, which requires the fast reading of others' gestures.
action prediction
aging
fMRI
lateral occipito-temporal cortex
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11768/134673
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