Tuning curves for movement direction in the human visuomotor system

Fabbri, S., Caramazza, A. & Lingnau, A., 6-Oct-2010, In : The Journal of Neuroscience. 30, 40, p. 13488-13498 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Neurons in macaque primary motor cortex (M1) are broadly tuned to arm movement direction. Recent evidence suggests that human M1 contains directionally tuned neurons, but it is unclear which other areas are part of the network coding movement direction and what characterizes the responses of neuronal populations in those areas. Such information would be highly relevant for the implementation of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) in paralyzed patients. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging adaptation to identify which areas of the human brain show directional selectivity and the degree to which these areas are affected by the type of motor act (to press vs to grasp). After adapting participants to one particular hand movement direction, we measured the release from adaptation during occasional test trials, parametrically varying the angular difference between adaptation and test direction. We identified multiple areas broadly tuned to movement direction, including M1, dorsal premotor cortex, intraparietal sulcus, and the parietal reach region. Within these areas, we observed a gradient of directional selectivity, with highest directional selectivity in the right parietal reach region, for both right- and left-hand movements. Moreover, directional selectivity was modulated by the type of motor act to varying degrees, with the largest effect in M1 and the smallest modulation in the parietal reach region. These data provide an important extension of our knowledge about directional tuning in the human brain. Furthermore, our results suggest that the parietal reach region might be an ideal candidate for the implementation of BCI in paralyzed patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13488-13498
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number40
Publication statusPublished - 6-Oct-2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult, Brain Mapping, Cerebral Cortex, Evoked Potentials, Visual, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Motion Perception, Nerve Net, Neuropsychological Tests, Orientation, Photic Stimulation, Psychomotor Performance, Space Perception, Visual Pathways, Young Adult, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, SELECTIVITY, ADAPTATION, POSTERIOR PARIETAL CORTEX, DIMENSIONAL ARM MOVEMENTS, PRIMATE MOTOR CORTEX, SPINAL-CORD-INJURY, REACHING MOVEMENTS, DISTORTION CORRECTION, DIFFERENT PARTS, FMRI

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 53855642