Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 147, Issue 1, pp 98–107

Movement-related potentials associated with self-paced, cued and imagined arm movements

  •  S. Jankelowitz
  •  J. Colebatch
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00221-002-1220-8

Cite this article as:
Jankelowitz, S. & Colebatch, J. Exp Brain Res (2002) 147: 98. doi:10.1007/s00221-002-1220-8


Self-paced movements, movement to a cue and imagined movement have all been reported to be preceded by a prolonged negativity on averaged electroencephalograph (EEG) recordings. Considerable evidence supports an important contribution from the supplementary motor area (SMA) to this potential and all three types of movement have been shown to be associated with SMA activation. This study was designed to compare the premovement component of these movement-related potentials (MRPs) in a group of subjects who performed each of these three types of movement. In addition, in view of the greater SMA activation in association with proximal arm movements, we studied movements at multiple joints in the right arm. All the potentials were largest at Cz. Self-paced movements were preceded by a negativity (mean onset 1.2 s prior to electromyographic activity) with two distinct phases – an early slow increase (early BP, Bereitschaftspotential) and a later, steeper phase (NS', negative slope). Proximal movements were associated with a larger peak amplitude (mean peak amplitude for shoulder 11.6 µV, finger movement 9.0 µV at Cz, n=14) due to a bigger NS' phase. Movements to a regular cue, but not to a randomly timed cue, were also preceded by a long duration negativity, but the NS' phase began earlier and was less distinct than for self-paced movements (mean peak amplitude for shoulder movement 9.1 µV, finger 8.2 µV at Cz, n=12). Imagining the movements to a regular cue was associated with a slow negativity, with no clear NS' phase (mean peak amplitude for shoulder movement 6.5 µV, finger 6.2 µV at Cz). Our results indicate that the MRPs prior to the three types of movement have distinct characteristics, most notably for the NS' phase. The MRP associated with movement to a regular cue may be analogous to the S2-related negativity of the contingent negative variation (CNV). We discuss the findings in the light of current evidence from functional imaging as to the cortical areas activated in similar movements.

Bereitschaftspotential Movement related potentials Motor control Contingent negative variation 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  •  S. Jankelowitz
    • 1
  •  J. Colebatch
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Neurological Sciences and UNSW Clinical School, The Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, Sydney 2031, NSW, Australia

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