A parietal-premotor network for movement intention and motor awareness

Trends Cogn Sci. 2009 Oct;13(10):411-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2009.08.001. Epub 2009 Sep 10.


It is commonly assumed that we are conscious of our movements mainly because we can sense ourselves moving as ongoing peripheral information coming from our muscles and retina reaches the brain. Recent evidence, however, suggests that, contrary to common beliefs, conscious intention to move is independent of movement execution per se. We propose that during movement execution it is our initial intentions that we are mainly aware of. Furthermore, the experience of moving as a conscious act is associated with increased activity in a specific brain region: the posterior parietal cortex. We speculate that movement intention and awareness are generated and monitored in this region. We put forward a general framework of the cognitive and neural processes involved in movement intention and motor awareness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Awareness / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cognitive Science / methods
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Models, Biological
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*