Knowing beans: Human mirror mechanisms revealed through motor adaptation

Arthur Glenberg, Gabriel Lopez-Mobilia, Michael McBeath, Michael Toma, Marc Sato, Luigi Cattaneo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Human mirror mechanisms (MMs) respond during both performed and observed action and appear to underlie action goal recognition. We introduce a behavioral procedure for discovering and clarifying functional MM properties: blindfolded participants repeatedly move beans either toward or away from themselves to induce motor adaptation. Then, the bias for perceiving direction of ambiguous visual movement in depth is measured. Bias is affected by (a) number of beans moved, (b) movement direction, and (c) similarity of the visual stimulus to the hand used to move beans. This cross-modal adaptation pattern supports both the validity of human MMs and functionality of our testing instrument. We also discuss related work that extends the motor adaptation paradigm to investigate contributions of MMs to speech perception and language comprehension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
StatePublished - 2010


  • Action recognition
  • Mirror mechanisms
  • Motor adaptation
  • Visual perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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