Representation of tactile signals in primate supplementary motor area

J Neurophysiol. 1993 Dec;70(6):2690-4. doi: 10.1152/jn.1993.70.6.2690.


1. We have studied the neuronal activity in the supplementary motor area (SMA) of two monkeys who categorized the speed of moving tactile stimuli delivered to the glabrous skin of the hand ipsilateral to the site of cortical recording and contralateral to the responding arm. 2. A large number of SMA neurons responded to the stimuli of all speeds (176 of 522) but only when those stimuli controlled behavior. 3. A second class of SMA neurons responded differentially in the categorization task (35 during the stimuli and 51 during the reaction time period) and predicted its outcome. 4. To dissociate the interrupt target switches presses from the tactile categorization responses, sixteen neurons, which responded to the stimuli in all speeds, and 11 neurons, which discharged differentially, were tested in a visual control task. None of these two classes of neurons responded in this situation. 5. It is concluded that the SMA ipsilateral to sensory input and contralateral to the responding arm is involved in the sensory decision process in this somesthetic categorization task.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Animals
  • Arm / innervation
  • Brain Mapping
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / physiology
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Hand / innervation
  • Kinesthesis / physiology*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Skin / innervation
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*
  • Touch / physiology*