How the brain understands intention: Different neural circuits identify the componential features of motor and prior intentions

Consciousness and Cognition 15 (1):64-74 (2006)
Abstract
In this paper we present theoretical and experimental evidence for a set of mechanisms by which intention is understood. We propose that three basic aspects are involved in the understanding of intention. The first aspect to consider is intention recognition, i.e., the process by which we recognize other people’s intentions, distinguishing among different types. The second aspect concerns the attribution of intention to its author: the existence of shared neural representations provides a parsimonious explanation of how we recognize other people’s intentions , but in and of itself, is not sufficient to determine who the agent is. Once the intention has been recognized and attributed to an agent, the reasons for, and the aim of, the intention are to be considered. Hence, the third aspect concerns the aim-intention motivating the execution of a certain action. We discuss the neural basis of these three theoretical aspects suggesting a conceptual synthesis
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