Left hemisphere motor facilitation in response to manual action sounds

Lisa Aziz-Zadeh, Marco Iacoboni, Eran Zaidel, Stephen Wilson, John Mazziotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


Previous studies indicate that the motor areas of both hemispheres are active when observing actions. Here we explored how the motor areas of each hemisphere respond to the sounds associated with actions. We used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to measure motor corticospinal excitability of hand muscles while listening to sounds. Sounds associated with bimanual actions produced greater motor corticospinal excitability than sounds associated with leg movements or control sounds. This facilitation was exclusively lateralized to the left hemisphere, the dominant hemisphere for language. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that action coding may be a precursor of language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2609-2612
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Action coding
  • Language evolution
  • Mirror neurons
  • Motor corticospinal excitability
  • Sounds
  • TMS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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