Neural dynamics of reaching following incorrect or absent motor preparation

Neuron. 2014 Jan 22;81(2):438-51. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.11.003.


Moving is thought to take separate preparation and execution steps. During preparation, neural activity in primary motor and dorsal premotor cortices achieves a state specific to an upcoming action but movements are not performed until the execution phase. We investigated whether this preparatory state (more precisely, prepare-and-hold state) is required for movement execution using two complementary experiments. We compared monkeys' neural activity during delayed and nondelayed reaches and in a delayed reaching task in which the target switched locations on a small percentage of trials. Neural population activity bypassed the prepare-and-hold state both in the absence of a delay and if the wrong reach was prepared. However, the initial neural response to the target was similar across behavioral conditions. This suggests that the prepare-and-hold state can be bypassed if needed, but there is a short-latency preparatory step that is performed prior to movement even without a delay.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology*
  • Cues
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Movement*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time