Author(s): Gerardin E
Neuroimagery findings have shown similar cerebral networks associated with imagination and execution of a movement. On the other hand, neuropsychological studies of parietal-lesioned patients suggest that these networks may be at least partly distinct. In the present study, normal subjects were asked to either imagine or execute auditory-cued hand movements. Compared with rest, imagination and execution showed overlapping networks, including bilateral premotor and parietal areas, basal ganglia and cerebellum. However, direct comparison between the two experimental conditions showed that specific cortico-subcortical areas were more engaged in mental simulation, including bilateral premotor, prefrontal, supplementary motor and left posterior parietal areas, and the caudate nuclei. These results suggest that a specific neuronal substrate is involved in the processing of hand motor representations.