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Effect of Directional Uncertainty on Motor Preparation: Psychophysics and Neural Activity

Giuseppe Pellizzer, Ph.D.
SEC 105
A key function of cognition is the integration of information for predictive processing. For example, advance information about the location of an upcoming target can be used to prepare a motor response and reduce its reaction time. In a series of behavioral and functional neuroimaging experiments, we investigated the behavioral and neural effects of spatial uncertainty on motor preparation. We found that the increase of reaction time with spatial uncertainty, and the shape of its distribution, were well described by a model that assumes that multiple potential motor responses can be processed in parallel. In addition, the reduction of power of beta-band activity during motor preparation was found to scale with directional uncertainty. The results elucidate neural mechanisms of integration of spatial information into motor preparation.