Differential cortical activation during observation and observation-and-imagination

H. I. Berends*, R. Wolkorte, M. J. Ijzerman, M. J.A.M. Van Putten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


The activity of the brain during observation or imagination of movements might facilitate the relearning of motor functions after stroke. The present study examines whether there is an additional effect of imagination over observation-only. Eight healthy subjects observed and observed-and-imagined a movement of a hand; 64-channel EEG was used to measure brain activity. The synchronization of the theta (4-8 Hz), alpha (8-13 Hz) and beta (13-25 Hz) frequency bands was calculated and plotted in topoplots. The temporal changes of the sensorimotor area (C3, C4) and the centro-parietal cortex (Pz) were analyzed in the two experimental conditions. During observationand-imagination, a significant larger desynchronization (p = 0.004) in the sensorimotor area was found compared to observation-only in all electrodes and frequency bands. In addition, temporal differences were found between observation and observation-and-imagination in the alpha frequency bands. During observation-and-imagination, modulations of EEG rhythms were stronger than during observation-only in the theta, alpha and beta frequency bands and during almost the whole activity fragment. These findings suggest an additive effect of imagination to observation in the rehabilitation after stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-345
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Differential cortical activation during observation and observation-and-imagination'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this