Observing repetitive finger movements modulates response times of auditorily cued finger movements

Katja Biermann-Ruben, Melanie Jonas, Klaus Kessler, Hartwig Roman Siebner, Tobias Bäumer, Alfons Schnitzler, Alexander Münchau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Our motor and perceptual representations of actions seem to be intimately linked and the human mirror neuron system (MNS) has been proposed as the mediator. In two experiments, we presented biological or non-biological movement stimuli that were either congruent or incongruent to a required response prompted by a tone. When the tone occurred with the onset of the last movement in a series, i.e., it was perceived during the movement presentation, congruent biological stimuli resulted in faster reaction times than congruent non-biological stimuli. The opposite was observed for incongruent stimuli. When the tone was presented after visual movement stimulation, however, no such interaction was present. This implies that biological movement stimuli only affect motor behaviour during visual processing but not thereafter. These data suggest that the MNS is an “online” system; longstanding repetitive visual stimulation (Experiment 1) has no benefit in comparison to only one or two repetitions (Experiment 2).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-113
Number of pages7
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Brain and cognition. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Biermann-Ruben, K, Jonas, M, Kessler, K, Siebner, HR, Bäumer, T, Schnitzler, A & Münchau, A 2008, 'Observing repetitive finger movements modulates response times of auditorily cued finger movements' Brain and cognition, vol. 68, no. 1 (2008) DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2008.03.005


  • finger movement
  • online processing
  • mirror neuron system
  • sensory interaction
  • compatibility
  • reaction time task


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