In my scientific career I have been continuously fascinated by the interaction between conceptual and motoric faculties of our brain and how they together support uniquely human behaviour. During my PhD I discovered how these faculties, previously assumed to operate independently, interact already at the initiation of action planning. I have found evidence for a hierarchical organization where first a coarse framework of the intended action is constructed based on the goal identity (e.g., "this is a ripe tomato that should be grasped like this"). This faculty activates the same brain network as tool-use and gesture production, and might provide a cognitive infrastructure for those functions. Subsequently, in another network, this rough plan is fine-tuned using the current visuospatial evidence. I am currently extending this line of research to study the interaction between semantics and action, and as a co-supervisor in a project focussed on the role of extrastriate body area (EBA), previously assumed to be a purely perceptual processor, in action guidance.
- integration of stored conceptual and current visuospatial information
- flexible and adaptive grasping behavior
- hierarchical organisation of distinct parieto-frontal circuits
- grasping semantics
- extra-striate body area in action