Motor imagery activates primary sensorimotor area in humans

Neurosci Lett. 1997 Dec 19;239(2-3):65-8. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(97)00889-6.


The spatiotemporal patterns of Rolandic mu and beta rhythms were studied during motor imagery with a dense array of EEG electrodes. The subjects were instructed to imagine movements of either the right or the left hand, corresponding to visual stimuli on a computer screen. It was found that unilateral motor imagery results in a short-lasting and localized EEG change over the primary sensorimotor area. The Rolandic rhythms displayed an event-related desynchronization (ERD) only over the contralateral hemisphere. In two of the three investigated subjects, an enhanced Rolandic rhythm was found over the ipsilateral side. The pattern of EEG desynchronization related to imagination of a movement was similar to the pattern during planning of a voluntary movement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cortical Synchronization
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imagination / physiology*
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*