Dissociations between motor-related EEG measures in a cued movement sequence task

Cortex. 2008 May;44(5):521-36. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2007.10.005. Epub 2007 Dec 23.


Different aspects of preparation, especially processes related to knowing what to prepare versus applying that foreknowledge effectively, may be reflected in different types of brain activity, e.g., the lateralized readiness potential (LRP), beta-band event-related desynchronization and phase locking. In a previous study in which subjects had to switch between response hands, dissociations were found between types of preparatory hand-related lateralization in evoked potentials, amplitude and phase locking (Gladwin et al., 2006) knowing what task set to switch to and effectively preparing that task set affected the different measures of lateralization. Similarly to how, in task switching, stimuli and responses must be correctly related to each other, in the preparation of movement sequences relations must be specified concerning motor processes. Similar dissociations as found in the task switching data might then be found in a cued movement sequence task. This possibility was explored by precueing elements of a two-movement sequence involving the left and right index fingers, and comparing various measures of electroencephalogram activity. Cues could specify the full sequence, either the first or the second element, or neither element. Knowing the first element was sufficient to lateralize the pattern of phase locking, but effects were found in the LRP and lateralized amplitude only when the full sequence was known. It seems likely that subjects only fully prepared the first response when they had full knowledge of the sequence so that the dissociation may be closely related to that found for task switching. Thus, the present data would appear to agree with previous results that couple response-foreknowledge with phase locking and the transformation of that foreknowledge into effective changes in component processes with evoked potential shifts. The results further underscore the general importance of considering different types of brain activity: depolarization, desynchronization and phase locking all appear to be involved in different aspects of cognitive control.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Contingent Negative Variation / physiology*
  • Cues
  • Decision Making / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Serial Learning / physiology*
  • Set, Psychology*