Research Topic

Covert Actions: A Window Into Human Behavior

About this Research Topic

Our actions change the environment and shape our sensorimotor system. Nonetheless, sometimes, we don't need to actually move to activate the motor system or to shape it. For example, the mere observation of someone else moving activates a distributed network shared with the action itself, and imagining a muscle contraction helps to increase strength. When trying to comprehend the actual execution of an action, the covert actions are important components, such as motor preparation, action observation, motor imagery, or covert speech production as well as speech perception and comprehension. Therefore, a better understanding of the neural and cognitive mechanisms underlying these processes will allow us to better appreciate human motor behavior.

This Research Topic aims to characterize the cognitive mechanisms and brain correlates of covert actions (brain connectivity, plasticity mechanisms, neural model, and activation) and to probe the influence on one’s behavior. Studies that compare the different covert actions in terms of neural patterns or efficiency in programs for motor learning and rehabilitation are welcome. It is also of interest to understand how the covert actions interact and what are the benefits of combining them.

Among the covert processes, the authors may focus on but are not restricted to, motor preparation, action observation, motor imagery, action language, and speech. The use of innovative techniques and integrative tools (brain imaging, neurostimulation methods, peripheral stimulation, etc.) can help to decipher the underlying neural circuits and to measure behavioral outcomes.

The following Article Types are encouraged: Original Research, Review, Brief Research Report, Mini Review, Perspective.


Keywords: motor preparation, action observation, motor imagery, covert language, brain imaging, stimulation techniques, behavior


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Our actions change the environment and shape our sensorimotor system. Nonetheless, sometimes, we don't need to actually move to activate the motor system or to shape it. For example, the mere observation of someone else moving activates a distributed network shared with the action itself, and imagining a muscle contraction helps to increase strength. When trying to comprehend the actual execution of an action, the covert actions are important components, such as motor preparation, action observation, motor imagery, or covert speech production as well as speech perception and comprehension. Therefore, a better understanding of the neural and cognitive mechanisms underlying these processes will allow us to better appreciate human motor behavior.

This Research Topic aims to characterize the cognitive mechanisms and brain correlates of covert actions (brain connectivity, plasticity mechanisms, neural model, and activation) and to probe the influence on one’s behavior. Studies that compare the different covert actions in terms of neural patterns or efficiency in programs for motor learning and rehabilitation are welcome. It is also of interest to understand how the covert actions interact and what are the benefits of combining them.

Among the covert processes, the authors may focus on but are not restricted to, motor preparation, action observation, motor imagery, action language, and speech. The use of innovative techniques and integrative tools (brain imaging, neurostimulation methods, peripheral stimulation, etc.) can help to decipher the underlying neural circuits and to measure behavioral outcomes.

The following Article Types are encouraged: Original Research, Review, Brief Research Report, Mini Review, Perspective.


Keywords: motor preparation, action observation, motor imagery, covert language, brain imaging, stimulation techniques, behavior


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 September 2021 Abstract
31 March 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 September 2021 Abstract
31 March 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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