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Cell Rep. 2017 Feb 14;18(7):1619-1626. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.01.049.

Rapid Automatic Motor Encoding of Competing Reach Options.

Author information

1
Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada; Department of Psychology, Queen's University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada; Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Queen's University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada. Electronic address: gallivan@queensu.ca.
2
Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada.
3
Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD 57069, USA.
4
Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1PZ, UK.
5
Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada; Department of Psychology, Queen's University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada. Electronic address: flanagan@queensu.ca.

Abstract

Mounting neural evidence suggests that, in situations in which there are multiple potential targets for action, the brain prepares, in parallel, competing movements associated with these targets, prior to implementing one of them. Central to this interpretation is the idea that competing viewed targets, prior to selection, are rapidly and automatically transformed into corresponding motor representations. Here, by applying target-specific, gradual visuomotor rotations and dissociating, unbeknownst to participants, the visual direction of potential targets from the direction of the movements required to reach the same targets, we provide direct evidence for this provocative idea. Our results offer strong empirical support for theories suggesting that competing action options are automatically represented in terms of the movements required to attain them. The rapid motor encoding of potential targets may support the fast optimization of motor costs under conditions of target uncertainty and allow the motor system to inform decisions about target selection.

KEYWORDS:

action; decision making; motor planning; parallel encoding; reaching; sensorimotor; visuomotor adaptation

PMID:
28199835
PMCID:
PMC6103432
DOI:
10.1016/j.celrep.2017.01.049
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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