Visually induced signal-locked neuronal activity changes in precentral motor areas of the monkey: hierarchical progression of signal processing

Brain Res. 1991 Feb 1;540(1-2):131-7. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(91)90499-l.


In the precuing paradigm, two successive visual signals were presented to trained monkeys. The first one, the preparatory signal, provided complete, partial or no prior information about parameters, such as direction and extent of the forthcoming wrist movement. After a delay, the illumination of a second visual signal, the response signal, called for execution of the movement and indicated the target. Signal-locked neuronal activity changes, i.e. those which occurred time-locked to the signal onset, were recorded in the premotor cortex and the primary motor cortex of the monkey and classified as selective or non-selective. Selective neurons were defined as those responding to particular information, for instance information about movement direction, provided by the signal, while non-selective neurons responded to all signals irrespective of any contained information. Clear latency differences according to both the selectivity of the neuronal response and the area in which the neuron was recorded could be discerned. The mean latency of non-selective activity changes was significantly shorter than that of selective activity changes. Furthermore, the mean latency of premotor cortical responses was significantly shorter than that of primary motor cortical responses. The data indicate the existence of distinct levels of signal processing from the very general to the highly specific.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electromyography
  • Eye Movements
  • Learning
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Movement
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Visual Perception*