Internal forward models in the cerebellum: fMRI study on grip force and load force coupling

Prog Brain Res. 2003;142:171-88. doi: 10.1016/S0079-6123(03)42013-X.


Internal models are neural mechanisms that can mimic the input-output or output-input properties of the motor apparatus and external objects. Forward internal models predict sensory consequences from efference copies of motor commands. There is growing acceptance of the idea that forward models are important in sensorimotor integration as well as in higher cognitive function, but their anatomical loci and neural mechanisms are still largely unknown. Some of the most convincing evidence that the central nervous system (CNS) makes use of forward models in sensory motor control comes from studies on grip force-load force coupling. We first present a brief review of recent computational and behavioral studies that provide decisive evidence for the utilization of forward models in grip force-load force coupling tasks. Then, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the brain activity related to this coupling and demonstrate that the cerebellum is the most likely site for forward models to be stored.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology