Dissociation between neuronal activity in sensorimotor cortex and hand movement revealed as a function of movement rate

Dora Hermes, Jeroen C.W. Siero, Erik J. Aarnoutse, Frans S.S. Leijten, Natalia Petridou, Nick F. Ramsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


It is often assumed that similar behavior is generated by the same brain activity. However, this does not take into account the brain state or recent behavioral history and movement initiation or continuation may not be similarly generated in the brain. To study whether similar movements are generated by the same brain activity, we measured neuronal population activity during repeated movements. Three human subjects performed a motor repetition task in which they moved their hand at four different rates (0.3, 0.5, 1, and 2Hz). From high-resolution electrocorticography arrays implanted on motor and sensory cortex, high-frequency power (65-95 Hz) was extracted as a measure of neuronal population activity. During the two faster movement rates, high-frequency power was significantly suppressed, whereas movement parameters remained highly similar. This suppression was nonlinear: after the initial movement, neuronal population activity was reduced most strongly, and the data fit a model in which a fast decline rapidly converged to saturation. The amplitude of the beta-band suppression did not change with different rates. However, at the faster rates, beta power did not return to baseline between movements but remained suppressed. We take these findings to indicate that the extended beta suppression at the faster rates, which may suggest a release of inhibition in motor cortex, facilitates movement initiation. These results show that the relationship between behavior and neuronal activity is not consistent: recent movement influences the state of motor cortex and facilitates next movements by reducing the required level of neuronal activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9736-9744
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 11 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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