Looking up while reaching out: the neural correlates of making eye and arm movements in different spatial planes
Standard visually guided reaching begins with foveation of a target of interest followed by an arm movement to the same spatial location. However, many visually guided arm movements, as well as a majority of imaging studies examining such movements, require participants to perform non-standard visuomotor mappings where the locations of gaze and arm movements are spatially dissociated (e.g. gaze fixation peripheral to the target of a reaching movement, or use of a tool such as a joystick while viewing stimuli on a screen). In this study, we compare brain activity associated with the production of standard visually guided arm movements to activity during a visuomotor mapping where saccades and reaches were made in different spatial planes. Multi-voxel pattern analysis revealed that while spatial patterns of voxel activity remain quite similar for the two visuomotor mappings during presentation of a cue for movement, patterns of activity become increasingly more discriminative throughout the brain as planning progresses toward motor execution. Decoding of the visuomotor mappings occurs throughout visuomotor-related regions of the brain including the premotor, primary motor and somatosensory, posterior parietal, middle occipital, and medial occipital cortices, and in the cerebellum. These results show that relative to standard visuomotor tasks, activity differs substantially in areas throughout the brain when a task requires an implicit sensorimotor recalibration.
KeywordsEye–hand coordination Sensory-motor mapping fMRI Cognitive-motor integration Visuomotor control
The funding was received by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) (Grant no. 227220-2011).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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