Motor unit territories in the human perioral musculature

J Speech Hear Res. 1994 Oct;37(5):975-84. doi: 10.1044/jshr.3705.975.


The perioral region was divided into four quadrants, and electromyograms (EMGs) were recorded from each area. The coherence function (i.e., the squared cross correlation between two signals computed at each frequency in the spectrum) was used to determine aspects of the organization of motor unit territories and to examine potential higher level sources of input in speech and nonspeech tasks. Coherence functions were computed between pairs of EMGs and were examined for significant values in the range of 20-240 Hz. When two pairs of electrodes were intentionally placed to record the activity from a common subset of motor units in a single quadrant of the lower lip, all subjects exhibited significant broad-band coherence in every frequency in all experimental tasks. Thus, the presence of such a pattern of broad-band significant coherence for EMG pairs recorded from different quadrants would indicate that single motor unit territories extended across perioral quadrants. When separate EMG recordings were obtained from the four quadrants of the lips, coherence functions computed between EMG pairs were typically zero across the entire frequency range. These findings suggest that perioral motor unit territories are organized into nonoverlapping quadrants. Further, the present analyses suggest that, unlike bilateral pairs of jaw-closing muscles during chewing, these motor units are not driven by any correlated oscillatory activity in chewing or other oral motor tasks.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electromyography / methods
  • Facial Muscles / innervation*
  • Facial Muscles / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lip / innervation*
  • Lip / physiology
  • Male
  • Mastication / physiology
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Speech / physiology