Study provides new insights into the functional neuroanatomy of motor imagery

of 0.67 Hz. During the visual fixation task, subjects were asked to clear their mind and withhold any movement except for physiological ones (i.e., natural blinking).
  • fMRI and electrophysiological monitoring: The fMRI experiment was conducted on a 1.5-T GE/SIGNA scanner with a standard quadrature head coil. To reduce head motion during scanning, a bite bar made of a dental impression material was custom-made for each subject and fixed to a cradle of the head coil. Subjects lay supine on a scanner bed with a response device fixed to them at the wrist joint that had five buttons, one for each finger of the right hand. The subjects viewed visual stimuli back-projected onto a screen through a mirror built into the head coil, but were unable to see their hands during the fMRI experiment.

    The findings revealed that movement and imagery tasks were based on the same operational rules and stimuli, and obviously shared many processes. These included visual information processing, conversion of the visual information to motor engrams according to arbitrary stimulus-response linkage, working memory, and monitoring instructed versus ongoing imagery/movement. Any mistake in these processes would result in failure to reach the correct answer for either task. The behavioral data, nevertheless, showed that the task performance was more accurate for the movement mode than for the imagery mode.

    This suggested that different more than common components of the two modes affected the task performance. For the movement mode, the performance would rely primarily on motor control based on the somatosensory feedback in reference to the instructed movement. For the imagery mode, on the other hand, the task performance probably reflects success or failure in maintaining or upgrading mental finger representations in reference to the instructions.

    For the difference in stimulus type, subjects tended to perform the tasks better for

  • Contact: Donna Krupa
    American Physiological Society

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