fMRI study of bimanual coordination

Neuropsychologia. 2000;38(2):164-74. doi: 10.1016/s0028-3932(99)00062-7.


Eleven right-handed subjects performed uni- and bimanual tapping tasks. Hemodynamic responses as measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in the primary somato-motor cortex (SMC) showed that during bimanual activity the SMC contralateral to the hand taking the faster rate was more strongly activated than the SMC contralateral to hand taking the slower rate. There were no asymmetries, left SMC activation during the right fast/left slow tapping condition was comparable to the right SMC activation during the left fast/right slow condition. A given SMC showed similar activation levels for bimanual and unimanual activity (i.e. left SMC activation for right fast/left slow was similar to left SMC activation for the right fast unimanual condition). In contrast, a given supplementary motor area (SMA) showed significantly more activation for the bimanual than for the unimanual activity. In addition, an asymmetry was observed during bimanual activities: during the right fast/left slow activity, the left SMA showed more activation than the right SMA, but during the left fast/right slow activity, the right SMA was not significantly more activated than the left SMA. For unimanual activities, a clear rate effect (greater activation for faster rate) was seen in the SMC but not in the SMA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Motor Cortex / blood supply
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Somatosensory Cortex / blood supply
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*