Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Chi-Ming Chen, Adam Sheya

Field of Study



Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


How we encode and understand others’ actions is a core problem in social learning. In recent decades, the human neural mirroring system (NMS) has been implicated as a potential neural mechanism of action understanding. To investigate the effects of experience on NMS activity, we manipulated 3– to 6-year-old children’s (N = 16) active and observational experience with two tools and then examined EEG mu (7-10 Hz) and central beta rhythm (17-21 Hz) desynchronization as measures of NMS activity during observation and execution of these actions. Children exhibited neural mirroring within both individualized and standard mu bands. Although mu and beta rhythm activity at central sites did not differ as a function of training condition, desynchronization within individualized and standard mu frequency bands was greater during perception of the active training task at occipital sites. We attribute this differential activity of the occipital region to visual attention, which may mediate the association between first-hand experience and desynchronization of the occipital alpha rhythm.

Major Advisor

Kimberly Cuevas