How the brain controls hand actions: TMS, fMRI and behavioural studies

Tonin, Diana (2018) How the brain controls hand actions: TMS, fMRI and behavioural studies. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis focused on testing the predictions made in Milner and Goodale’s model and reports finding from experiments investigating how inputs from both the dorsal and the ventral streams are required when we perform hand actions with objects (Chapter 2) and tools (Chapter 3 & 4) using different paradigms such as real and pantomimed grasping and techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, motion-tracking of hand movements and cutting-edge fMRI multivoxel pattern analysis. The primary aim was to gain a new insight on the role of the dorsal and the ventral visual streams in real grasping and pantomiming and to understand what specific aspects of objects and movements associated with them are represented within the two streams. The first experiment (Chapter 2) examined the causal role of the anterior intraparietal and the lateral occipital in object’s real and pantomimed grasping using TMS. The results showed that real object grasping and pantomime actions without the objects in hand require the left dorsal stream but that information from the ventral stream is additionally required for pantomiming. The experiments in Chapter 3 and 4 investigated how tools and tool related actions are represented within the dorsal and the ventral stream (Chapter 3) and whether different action end-goals affected early grasping kinematics (Chapter 4). Using MVPA we showed that both dorsal and ventral stream regions represent information about functional and structural manipulation knowledge of tools. Moreover, we showed that both streams represent tool identity, which seems in line with our behavioural findings that tool identity affects grasping kinematics. The current work provided a detailed understanding of how the dorsal and the ventral streams interact in tool processing and propose a more sophisticated view of the distributed representations across the two streams. These findings open up a number of research avenues as well as help understanding how actions are disrupted in brain-damaged patients and advance the development of neural prosthetics.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Stacey Armes
Date Deposited: 15 May 2019 15:35
Last Modified: 15 May 2019 15:35

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