Conditioning pp 281-291 | Cite as

Role of Motor Cortex Cells in Control of Operantly Conditioned Muscle Activity

  • Eberhard E. Fetz
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 26)


In the primate, precentral motor cortex plays an important role in both the learning and execution of voluntary limb movements, particularly those involving discrete patterns of muscle activity. A better understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying voluntary movements seems a prerequisite to the eventual goal of understanding the neural mechanisms of operant conditioning per se, i.e., how the occurrence of a reinforcing stimulus changes the probability of an operant response. The role of motor cortex cells in voluntary control of limb muscles has been elucidated recently by studies of neural activity in behaving animals, operantly conditioned to perform relevant motor responses. The functional relations between cortical cells and limb muscles are particularly well elucidated by experiments that test for constraints in their interactions.


Motor Cortex Firing Rate Motor Unit Operant Conditioning Target Muscle 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eberhard E. Fetz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology & Biophysics and Regional Primate Research CenterUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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