Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 182, Issue 1, pp 59–69 | Cite as

Coherence and phase locking of intracerebral activation during visuo- and audio-motor learning of continuous tracking movements

  • Julia Blum
  • Kai Lutz
  • Lutz Jäncke
Research Article


The aim of the present study was to assess changes in EEG coherence and phase locking between fronto-parietal areas, including the frontal and parietal motor areas, during early audio- and visuo-motor learning of continuous tracking movements. Subjects learned to turn a steering-wheel according to a given trajectory in order to minimise the discrepancy between a changing foreground stimulus (controllable by the subjects) and a constant background stimulus (uncontrollable) for both the auditory and the visual modality. In the auditory condition, we uncovered a learning-related increase in inter-hemispheric phase locking between inferior parietal regions, suggesting that coupling between areas involved in audiomotor integration is augmented during early learning stages. Intra-hemispheric phase locking between motor and superior parietal areas increased in the left hemisphere as learning progressed, indicative of integrative processes of spatial information and movement execution. Further tests show a significant correlation of intra-hemispheric phase locking between the motor and the parietal area bilaterally and movement performance in the visual condition. These results suggest that the motor-parietal network is operative in the auditory and in the visual condition. This study confirms that a complex fronto-parietal network subserves learning of a new movement that requires sensorimotor transformation and demonstrates the importance of interregional coupling as a neural correlate for successful acquisition and implementation of externally guided behaviour.


EEG Coherence Phase locking Motor learning Sensorimotor Alpha rhythm 


  1. Andres FG, Gerloff C (1999) Coherence of sequential movements and motor learning. J Clin Neurophysiol 16:520–527PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andres FG, Mima T, Schulman AE, Dichgans J, Hallett M, Gerloff C (1999) Functional coupling of human cortical sensorimotor areas during bimanual skill acquisition. Brain 122(Pt 5):855–870PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Annett M (1970) A classification of hand preference by association analysis. Br J Psychol 61:303–321PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Annett M (1992) Five tests of hand skill. Cortex 28:583–600PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Baumann S, Koeneke S, Meyer M, Lutz K, Jäncke L (2006) A network for sensory-motor integration: what happens in the auditory cortex during piano playing without acoustic feedback? Ann NY Acad Sci 1060:186–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chambers CD, Stokes MG, Mattingley JB (2004) Modality-specific control of strategic spatial attention in parietal cortex. Neuron 44:925–930PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Classen J, Gerloff C, Honda M, Hallett M (1998) Integrative visuomotor behavior is associated with interregionally coherent oscillations in the human brain. J Neurophysiol 79:1567–1573PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Fink GR, Frackowiak RS, Pietrzyk U, Passingham RE (1997) Multiple nonprimary motor areas in the human cortex. J Neurophysiol 77:2164–2174PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Floyer-Lea A, Matthews PM (2004) Changing brain networks for visuomotor control with increased movement automaticity. J Neurophysiol 92:2405–2412PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Frutiger SA, Strother SC, Anderson JR, Sidtis JJ, Arnold JB, Rottenberg DA (2000) Multivariate predictive relationship between kinematic and functional activation patterns in a PET study of visuomotor learning. Neuroimage 12:515–527PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gaab N, Gaser C, Zaehle T, Jancke L, Schlaug G (2003) Functional anatomy of pitch memory—an fMRI study with sparse temporal sampling. Neuroimage 19:1417–1426PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gerloff C, Andres FG (2002) Bimanual coordination and interhemispheric interaction. Acta Psychol (Amst) 110:161–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gerloff C, Richard J, Hadley J, Schulman AE, Honda M, Hallett M (1998) Functional coupling and regional activation of human cortical motor areas during simple, internally paced and externally paced finger movements. Brain 121(Pt 8):1513–1531PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hickok G, Poeppel D (2000) Towards a functional neuroanatomy of speech perception. Trends Cogn Sci 4:131–138PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jancke L, Peters M, Schlaug G, Posse S, Steinmetz H, Muller-Gartner H (1998) Differential magnetic resonance signal change in human sensorimotor cortex to finger movements of different rate of the dominant and subdominant hand. Brain Res Cogn Brain Res 6:279–284PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jung T-P, Makeig S, Bell AJ, Sejnowski TJ (1998) Independent component analysis of electroencephalographic and event-related potential data. In: Poon P, Brugge J (eds) Auditory processing and neural modeling. Plenum press, New York, pp 189–197Google Scholar
  17. Klimesch W (1999) EEG alpha and theta oscillations reflect cognitive and memory performance: a review and analysis. Brain Res Brain Res Rev 29:169–195PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Laufs H, Hamandi K, Salek-Haddadi A, Kleinschmidt AK, Duncan JS, Lemieux L (2006a) Temporal lobe interictal epileptic discharges affect cerebral activity in “default mode” brain regions. Hum Brain Mapp (Epub ahead of print)Google Scholar
  19. Laufs H, Holt JL, Elfont R, Krams M, Paul JS, Krakow K, et al (2006b) Where the BOLD signal goes when alpha EEG leaves. Neuroimage 31(4):1408–1418PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lehmann D, Faber PL, Gianotti LR, Kochi K, Pascual-Marqui RD (2006) Coherence and phase locking in the scalp EEG and between LORETA model sources, and microstates as putative mechanisms of brain temporo-spatial functional organization. J Physiol Paris 99:29–36PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lorch RF Jr, Myers JL (1990) Regression analyses of repeated measures data in cognitive research. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn 16:149–157PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Manganotti P, Gerloff C, Toro C, Katsuta H, Sadato N, Zhuang P, et al (1998) Task-related coherence and task-related spectral power changes during sequential finger movements. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 109:50–62PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mulert C, Jager L, Schmitt R, Bussfeld P, Pogarell O, Moller HJ, et al (2004) Integration of fMRI and simultaneous EEG: towards a comprehensive understanding of localization and time-course of brain activity in target detection. Neuroimage 22:83–94PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pascual-Marqui RD, Michel CM, Lehmann D (1994) Low resolution electromagnetic tomography: a new method for localizing electrical activity in the brain. Int J Psychophysiol 18:49–65PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pascual-Marqui RD, Esslen M, Kochi K, Lehmann D (2002) Functional imaging with low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (LORETA): a review. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol 24(Suppl C):91–95PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Pfurtscheller G, Neuper C, Krausz G (2000) Functional dissociation of lower and upper frequency mu rhythms in relation to voluntary limb movement. Clin Neurophysiol 111:1873–1879PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pineda JA (2005) The functional significance of mu rhythms: translating “seeing” and “hearing” into “doing”. Brain Res Brain Res Rev 50:57–68PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pollok B, Sudmeyer M, Gross J, Schnitzler A (2005) The oscillatory network of simple repetitive bimanual movements. Brain Res Cogn Brain Res 25:300–311PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Praeg E, Herwig U, Lutz K, Jancke L (2005) The role of the right dorsal premotor cortex in visuomotor learning: a transcranial magnetic stimulation study. Neuroreport 16(15):1715–1718PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Praeg E, Esslen M, Lutz K, Jancke L (2006) Neuronal modifications during visuomotor association learning assessed by electric brain tomography. Brain Topogr, 19(1–2):61–75PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Roland PE, Zilles K (1996) Functions and structures of the motor cortices in humans. Curr Opin Neurobiol 6:773–781PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Serrien DJ, Brown P (2002) The functional role of interhemispheric synchronization in the control of bimanual timing tasks. Exp Brain Res 147:268–272PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Serrien DJ, Brown P (2003) The integration of cortical and behavioural dynamics during initial learning of a motor task. Eur J Neurosci 17:1098–1104PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Serrien DJ, Cassidy MJ, Brown P (2003) The importance of the dominant hemisphere in the organization of bimanual movements. Hum Brain Mapp 18:296–305PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Singer W (1993) Synchronization of cortical activity and its putative role in information processing and learning. Annu Rev Physiol 55:349–374PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Singer W, Gray CM (1995) Visual feature integration and the temporal correlation hypothesis. Annu Rev Neurosci 18:555–586PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Toni I, Ramnani N, Josephs O, Ashburner J, Passingham RE (2001) Learning arbitrary visuomotor associations: temporal dynamic of brain activity. Neuroimage 14(5):1048–1057PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Warren JE, Wise RJ, Warren JD (2005) Sounds do-able: auditory-motor transformations and the posterior temporal plane. Trends Neurosci 28:636–643PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neuropsychology, Institute for PsychologyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations