Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 223, Issue 1, pp 1–10 | Cite as

Electrocorticographic (ECoG) correlates of human arm movements

  • Nicholas R. AndersonEmail author
  • Tim Blakely
  • Gerwin Schalk
  • Eric C. Leuthardt
  • Daniel W. Moran
Research Article


Invasive and non-invasive brain–computer interface (BCI) studies have long focused on the motor cortex for kinematic control of artificial devices. Most of these studies have used single-neuron recordings or electroencephalography (EEG). Electrocorticography (ECoG) is a relatively new recording modality in BCI research that has primarily been built on successes in EEG recordings. We built on prior experiments related to single-neuron recording and quantitatively compare the extent to which different brain regions reflect kinematic tuning parameters of hand speed, direction, and velocity in both a reaching and tracing task in humans. Hand and arm movement experiments using ECoG have shown positive results before, but the tasks were not designed to tease out which kinematics are encoded. In non-human primates, the relationships among these kinematics have been more carefully documented, and we sought to begin elucidating that relationship in humans using ECoG. The largest modulation in ECoG activity for direction, speed, and velocity representation was found in the primary motor cortex. We also found consistent cosine tuning across both tasks, to hand direction and velocity in the high gamma band (70–160 Hz). Thus, the results of this study clarify the neural substrates involved in encoding aspects of motor preparation and execution and confirm the important role of the motor cortex in BCI applications.


Electrocorticography Subdural electroencephalography Motor cortex Brain–computer interfaces Arm tuning Cosine tuning 



This work was supported in part by the McDonnell Center for Higher Brain Function by grants from the NIH/NIBIB (EB006356 (GS) and EB000856 (GS)), and from the US Army Research Office (W911NF-07-1-0415 (GS), W911NF-08-1-0216 (GS)). N. Anderson was with Washington University in St. Louis and is now with Cortech Solutions. T. Blakely was with Washington University in St. Louis and is now with the University of Washington. G. Schalk is with the Wadsworth Center, Albany, NY. E. Leuthardt is with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. D. Moran is with Washington University in St. Louis.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas R. Anderson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tim Blakely
    • 2
  • Gerwin Schalk
    • 3
  • Eric C. Leuthardt
    • 4
  • Daniel W. Moran
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringCortech Solutions and Washington University in Saint LouisWilmingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Computer Science and EngineeringWashington University in Saint LouisSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Wadsworth CenterAlbanyUSA
  4. 4.School of Neurosurgery and Department of Biomedical EngineeringWashington University in Saint LouisSt. LouisUSA
  5. 5.Department of Biomedical EngineeringWashington University in Saint LouisSt. LouisUSA

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