Observation of Implied Motion in a Work of Art Modulates Cortical Connectivity and Plasticity [C. Concerto, C. Infortuna, L. Mineo, M. Pereira, D. Freedberg, E. Chusid, E. Aguglia, F. Battaglia, Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation 12(5)]

Concerto, Carmen; Mineo, Ludovico; Pereira, Manuel; Freedberg, David A.; Chusid, Eileen; Aguglia, Eugenio; Battaglia, Fortunato

Following the discovery of mirror neurons, much attention has been de-voted to understanding the neural responses evoked by observation of implied motion in works of art. Neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that dorsal premotor cortex (PMd) is commonly involved during observation of movements but the role of the inhibitory and excitatory connections between PMd and primary motor cortex (M1) during observation of implied motion remains uncertain. In this study, using high and low frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), we examined PMd–M1 connectivity and plasticity during observation of Michelangelo’s frescos with and without implied motion (Sistine Chapel, 1508–1512). We found that observation of implied motion in a painting specifically reduces the activity of inhibitory PMd–M1 connections. On the contrary PMd–M1 facilitatory connections, as examined by means of 5-Hz rTMS, were not modulated during observation of the painting. Our data suggest that observation of implied motion in a painting modulates PMd–M1 connectivity and plasticity. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that art with implied motion might be used as a plasticity-based intervention in rehabilitation.


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Academic Units
Art History and Archaeology
Published Here
August 24, 2022