The concept of canonical representations within the motor system has been both supported and refuted using a variety of behavioral studies. Here, based upon neurophysiological data, I discuss the relationship amongst those neuronal substrates of action and the behavioral components of a movement. A novel view of reaching and grasping has been proposed which predicts that movements with similar kinematic and dynamic properties have a similar representation within the nervous system (Smeets & Brenner, 1999). However this is broadly inconsistent with a variety of neurophysiological findings that emphasize the independence amongst representations of action.
The author is with the University Laboratory of Physiology at Oxford University, Oxford, OX1 3PT, UK.