The computational and neural basis of voluntary motor control and planning

Trends Cogn Sci. 2012 Nov;16(11):541-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2012.09.008. Epub 2012 Sep 29.


Optimal feedback control (OFC) provides a powerful tool to interpret voluntary motor control, highlighting the importance of sensory feedback in the control and planning of movement. Recent studies in the context of OFC have increasingly used mechanical perturbations and visual shifts to probe voluntary control processes. These studies reveal the surprising sophistication of corrective responses, which are goal-directed and exhibit knowledge of the physical properties of the limb and the environment. These complex feedback processes appear to be generated through transcortical feedback pathways. The research reviewed here opens and enhances several lines of discovery, including testing whether feedback corrections share all of the attributes associated with voluntary control, identifying how prediction influences optimal state estimation, and importantly, how these voluntary control processes are generated by the highly distributed circuitry within the brain.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping
  • Feedback, Sensory / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Neurofeedback / methods
  • Neurofeedback / physiology*
  • Sensation / physiology*