The talk will deal with the association learning between movements and sensory consequences of the movements which determines the origin of sensorimotor representations. When this association is established the individual is able to act to obtain the aimed sensory consequences (goal-directed action execution) or to retrieve the motor experience when the relative sensory consequences are perceived (others’ action prediction). Evidence will be brought in favour of the fact that the capacity of acting intentionally begins during intrauterine life and that the neuronal coding of sensorimotor representations is based on the purpose of the action and not the way in which the action is performed. In particular, we will emphasize the fact that in man, unlike in the monkey, access to sensorimotor representations is also possible during intransitive actions that are those in which the action is not directed towards an object. This possibility characterizes the human capacity for abstraction.