Department of Electrical Engineering and Neurosciences Program, Stanford University. USA
Monday 26 March 2007, 16:00
Seminar Room B10 (Basement)
Alexandra House, 17 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3AR
NEURAL BASIS OF REACH PREPARATION
It has long been recognized that before moving we somehow prepare neural activity such that, when called upon, the desired movement unfolds. But the goals of movement preparation and the underlying neural mechanisms remain poorly understood. I will describe some of our recent electrophysiological and computational investigations of how premotor cortex prepares movements. Our results suggest that the brain is attempting to optimize preparatory neural activity and can delay movement until this activity is sufficiently accurate. Moreover, irreducible fluctuations in this preparatory activity may ultimately limit movement accuracy. Our future work aims to extend these trial-averaged observations of the motor preparatory process into a mechanistic understanding of single-trial neural dynamics.