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Science. 2003 Jul 11;301(5630):233-6.

Conversion of working memory to motor sequence in the monkey premotor cortex.

Author information

  • 1Department of Physiology, University of Tokyo School of Medicine, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan. ohbayashi-tky@umin.ac.jp


To plan a serial order behavior, we hold serial sensory information in our minds and convert it to a movement program. We trained monkeys to memorize a sequence of positional cues and to reproduce it by making saccades in either the original or reverse order. The order was determined in the middle of a trial on the basis of an instruction stimulus. Triggered by the instruction stimulus, single neurons in the dorsal premotor cortex became transiently active only when the order needed to be determined. These transient neurons, together with nearby sustained neurons that hold information on cue or movement sequences, appear to mediate the generation of a motor program from the maintained information.

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