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Functional magnetic resonance imaging connectivity analyses reveal efference-copy to primary somatosensory area, BA2

Research group Keysers
Publication year 2014
Published in PLoS One
Authors Fang Cui, Dan Arnstein, R.M. Thomas, Natasha M Maurits, Christian Keysers, Valeria Gazzola

Some theories of motor control suggest efference-copies of motor commands reach somatosensory cortices. Here we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to test these models. We varied the amount of efference-copy signal by making participants squeeze a soft material either actively or passively. We found electromyographical recordings, an efference-copy proxy, to predict activity in primary somatosensory regions, in particular Brodmann Area (BA) 2. Partial correlation analyses confirmed that brain activity in cortical structures associated with motor control (premotor and supplementary motor cortices, the parietal area PF and the cerebellum) predicts brain activity in BA2 without being entirely mediated by activity in early somatosensory (BA3b) cortex. Our study therefore provides valuable empirical evidence for efference-copy models of motor control, and shows that signals in BA2 can indeed reflect an input from motor cortices and suggests that we should interpret activations in BA2 as evidence for somatosensory-motor rather than somatosensory coding alone.

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