Neuronal correlates of motor performance and motor learning in the primary motor cortex of monkeys adapting to an external force field

Neuron. 2001 May;30(2):593-607. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(01)00301-4.


The primary motor cortex (M1) is known to control motor performance. Recent findings have also implicated M1 in motor learning, as neurons in this area show learning-related plasticity. In the present study, we analyzed the neuronal activity recorded in M1 in a force field adaptation task. Our goal was to investigate the neuronal reorganization across behavioral epochs (before, during, and after adaptation). Here we report two main findings. First, memory cells were present in two classes. With respect to the changes of preferred direction (Pd), these two classes complemented each other after readaptation. Second, for the entire neuronal population, the shift of Pd matched the shift observed for muscles. These results provide a framework whereby the activity of distinct neuronal subpopulations combines to subserve both functions of motor performance and motor learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Electric Stimulation / instrumentation
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Macaca nemestrina
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Microelectrodes
  • Models, Neurological
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Neurons / classification
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*