Distinct Cortical Correlates of Perception and Motor Function in Balance Control

J Neurosci. 2024 Apr 10;44(15):e1520232024. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1520-23.2024.


Fluctuations in brain activity alter how we perceive our body and generate movements but have not been investigated in functional whole-body behaviors. During reactive balance, we recently showed that evoked brain activity is associated with the balance ability in young individuals. Furthermore, in PD, impaired whole-body motion perception in reactive balance is associated with impaired balance. Here, we investigated the brain activity during the whole-body motion perception in reactive balance in young adults (9 female, 10 male). We hypothesized that both ongoing and evoked cortical activity influences the efficiency of information processing for successful perception and movement during whole-body behaviors. We characterized two cortical signals using electroencephalography localized to the SMA: (1) the "N1," a perturbation-evoked potential that decreases in amplitude with expectancy and is larger in individuals with lower balance function, and (2) preperturbation β power, a transient rhythm that favors maintenance of the current sensorimotor state and is inversely associated with tactile perception. In a two-alternative forced choice task, participants judged whether pairs of backward support surface perturbations during standing were in the "same" or "different" direction. As expected, lower whole-body perception was associated with lower balance ability. Within a perturbation pair, N1 attenuation was larger on correctly perceived trials and associated with better balance, but not perception. In contrast, preperturbation β power was higher on incorrectly perceived trials and associated with poorer perception, but not balance. Together, ongoing and evoked cortical activity have unique roles in information processing that give rise to distinct associations with perceptual and balance ability.

Keywords: N1; balance; electroencephalography; oscillations; perception; β rhythm.

MeSH terms

  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motion Perception* / physiology
  • Movement
  • Postural Balance* / physiology
  • Young Adult