Background: The human mirror neuron system exists in adults, and even in children. However, a significant, unanswered question in the literature concerns age differences in the effect of visual orientation of human body movements. The observation of actions performed by others is known to activate populations of neural cells called mirror neuron system. Moreover, the power of mu rhythms (8-13 Hz) in the EEG is known to decrease while performing and observing human movements. Therefore, the mu rhythm could be related to the activity of the mirror neuron system. This study investigated the effects of the visual perspective on electroencephalography responses to hand actions in two age groups. Methods: The participants were 28 elementary school students and 26 university students. Videos of the two hands operating switches were used as stimuli. The electroencephalogrammu rhythm (8-13 Hz) was measured during stimuli presentation as an index of mirror neuron system activity. Results: Adult participants showed significant mirror neuron system activation under both conditions, although no effect of visual perspectives was observed. On the other hand, children only reacted to egocentric stimuli and not to the others. Conclusions: These findings confirmed the suggested differences in the activity of the mirror neuron system between different age groups. The demonstration that brain activities related to mirroring change during development could help explain previous findings in the literature.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Human Factors and Ergonomics
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Physiology (medical)