Time predictability modulates pre-supplementary motor area neuronal activity

Neuroreport. 2004 Jun 7;15(8):1283-6. doi: 10.1097/01.wnr.0000127347.87552.87.


Two monkeys were trained in a delayed sequential motor task in which the time interval between events and the delay duration were either fixed or variable. Single-unit neuronal activity was recorded in the pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA). During the delay, we observed a gradual increase in activity (build-up pattern) in the fixed but not in the variable condition. In the former but not in the latter, the monkey had the opportunity to estimate time duration. Consequently, the build-up pattern observed in the pre-SMA might represent the neuronal substrate of a time accumulator system proposed by previous authors on the basis of functional imaging data. Such a system could play a critical role in the working memory of temporal information.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology*
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Haplorhini
  • Movement / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Time Perception / physiology*