Previous research shows that sensory and motor systems interact during verb perception, and that these interactions are formed through self-generated actions that refer to verb labels during development. Here we expand on these findings by investigating whether self-generated actions lead to sensori-motor interaction during sound perception and visual perception. The current research exposes young children to novel sounds that are produced by object movement through either a) actively exploring the objects and producing the sounds or b) by seeing and hearing an experimenter interact with the objects. Results demonstrate that the motor system was recruited during auditory perception only after learning involved self-generated interactions with objects. Interestingly, visual association regions were also active during both sound perception and visual perception after active exploratory learning, but not after passive observation. Therefore, in the developing brain, associations are built upon real-world interactions of body and environment, leading to sensori-motor representations of both objects and sounds.
KEYWORDS: fMRI, embodiment, brain development