The objective of this study was to test, in single subjects, the hypothesis that the signs of voluntary movement-related neural activity would first appear in the prefrontal region, then move to both the medial frontal and posterior parietal regions, progress to the medial primary motor area, lateralize to the contralateral primary motor area and finally involve the cerebellum (where feedback-initiated error signals are computed). Six subjects performed voluntary finger movements while DC coupled EEG was recorded from 64 scalp electrodes. Event-related potentials (ERPs) averaged on the movements were analysed both before and after independent component analysis (ICA) combined with dipole source analysis (DSA) of the independent components. Both a simple topographic analysis of undecomposed ERPs and the ICA/DSA analysis suggested that the original hypothesis was inadequate. The major departure from its predictions was that, while activity over many brain regions did appear at the expected times, it also appeared at unexpected times. Overall, the results suggest that the neuroscientific 'standard model', in which neural activity occurs sequentially in a series of discrete local areas each specialized for a particular function, may reflect the true situation less well than models in which large areas of brain shift simultaneously into and out of common activity states.