Neuronal correlates of movement dynamics in the dorsal and ventral premotor area in the monkey

Exp Brain Res. 2006 Jan;168(1-2):106-19. doi: 10.1007/s00221-005-0074-2. Epub 2005 Sep 22.


We investigated how neurons in the different motor areas of the frontal lobe reflect the movement dynamics, and how their neuronal activity undergoes plastic changes when monkeys adapt to perturbing forces (they learn new dynamics). Here we describe the results obtained in the dorsal premotor area (PMd) and ventral premotor area (PMv). Monkeys performed visually instructed, delayed reaching movements before, during and after exposure and adaptation to a viscous, curl force field. During movement planning (i.e., during an instructed delay that followed the cue and preceded the go signal), we found dynamics-related activity in PMd but not in PMv. A closer analysis revealed that the population of PMd reflected the dynamics of the upcoming movement increasingly over the course of the delay, starting from a kinematics-related signal. During movement execution, dynamics-related activity was present in both PMd and PMv. In this respect, the results for PMd were similar to that previously found for the supplementary motor area (SMA) whereas the results for PMv were more similar to that previously found for the primary motor cortex (M1). Plastic changes associated with the acquisition of new dynamics found in PMd and PMv were qualitatively similar to those previously observed in M1 and SMA. The ensemble of our experiments suggest a broader picture of the cortical control of movements, whereby multiple areas all contribute to the various sensorimotor processes, including "low" computations such as the movement dynamics, but also express a degree of specialization.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / methods
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Macaca mulatta / physiology*
  • Motor Cortex / cytology*
  • Motor Cortex / physiology
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Neurons / classification
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics*
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Psychophysics
  • Reaction Time / physiology