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Neuroimage. 2013 Apr 15;70:356-62. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.12.043. Epub 2012 Dec 28.

Modulation of somatosensory processing by action.

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Department of Psychosis Studies, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK.


Psychophysical evidence suggests that sensations arising from our own movements are diminished when predicted by motor forward models and that these models may also encode the timing and intensity of movement. Here we report a functional magnetic resonance imaging study in which the effects on sensation of varying the occurrence, timing and force of movements were measured. We observed that tactile-related activity in a region of secondary somatosensory cortex is reduced when sensation is associated with movement and further that this reduction is maximal when movement and sensation occur synchronously. Motor force is not represented in the degree of attenuation but rather in the magnitude of this region's response. These findings provide neurophysiological correlates of previously-observed behavioural forward-model phenomena, and advocate the adopted approach for the study of clinical conditions in which forward-model deficits have been posited to play a crucial role.

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