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J Neurophysiol. 2002 Jul;88(1):514-9.

Neural activity in human primary motor cortex areas 4a and 4p is modulated differentially by attention to action.

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Department of Neurology, University Hospital Düsseldorf, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.


The mechanisms underlying attention to action are poorly understood. Although distracted by something else, we often maintain the accuracy of a movement, which suggests that differential neural mechanisms for the control of attended and nonattended action exist. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in normal volunteers and probabilistic cytoarchitectonic maps, we observed that neural activity in subarea 4p (posterior) within the primary motor cortex was modulated by attention to action, while neural activity in subarea 4a (anterior) was not. The data provide the direct evidence for differential neural mechanisms during attended and unattended action in human primary motor cortex.

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