The extrastriate body area (EBA) in the lateral occipito-temporal cortex has an important role in reciprocal interaction, as it detects congruence between self and other’s hand actions. However, it is unclear whether the EBA can detect congruence regardless of the type of action. In the present study, we examined the neural substrate underlying congruence detection of three types of actions: hand gestures, vocalizations, and facial expressions. A univariate analysis revealed a congruency effect, especially for imitating action, for all three types of actions in the EBA. A multi-voxel pattern analysis classifier in the EBA was able to distinguish between initiating interaction from responding to interaction in all experiments. Correspondingly, the congruency effect in the EBA revealed by univariate analysis was stronger for responding to than for initiating interaction. These findings suggest that the EBA might contribute to detect congruence regardless of the body part used (i.e. face or hand) and the type of action (i.e. gestural or vocal). Moreover, initiating and responding to interaction might be processed differently within the EBA. This study highlights the role of the EBA in comparing between self and other’s actions beyond hand actions. Running head: Function of EBA in reciprocal imitation.
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