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Premotor cortical activity underlying reaching

Trainee Achievements

Premotor cortical activity underlying reaching

Trainee Thomas Pearce and professor Daniel Moran studied premotor cortical activity underlying reaching.

The kinematic strategy encoded in motor cortical areas for classic straight-line reaching is remarkably simple and consistent across subjects, despite the complicated musculoskeletal dynamics that are involved. As tasks become more challenging, however, different conscious strategies may be utilized to improve perceived behavioral performance. They discovered that additional spatial information appeared both in single neurons and in the population code of monkey dorsal premotor cortex when obstacles impeded direct reach paths. The neural correlate of movement planning varied between subjects in a manner consistent with the use of different strategies to optimize task completion. These distinct planning strategies were manifested in the timing and strength of the information contained in the neural population code.

This work was published in Science.