Selective Activation of a Parietofrontal Circuit during Implicitly Imagined Prehension

S Johnson
2002 NeuroImage  
It is generally held that motor imagery is the internal simulation of movements involving one's own body in the absence of overt execution. Consistent with this hypothesis, results from numerous functional neuroimaging studies indicate that motor imagery activates a large variety of motor-related brain regions. However, it is unclear precisely which of these areas are involved in motor imagery per se as opposed to other planning processes that do not involve movement simulation. In an attempt
more » ... resolve this issue, we employed event-related fMRI to separate activations related to hand preparation-a task component that does not demand imagining movements-from grip selection-a component previously shown to require the internal simulation of reaching movements. Our results show that in contrast to preparation of overt actions, preparation of either hand for covert movement simulation activates a large network of motorrelated areas located primarily within the left cerebral and right cerebellar hemispheres. By contrast, imagined grip selection activates a distinct parietofrontal circuit that includes the bilateral dorsal premotor cortex, contralateral intraparietal sulcus, and right superior parietal lobule. Because these areas are highly consistent with the frontoparietal reach circuit identified in monkeys, we conclude that motor imagery involves action-specific motor representations computed in parietofrontal circuits. © 2002 Elsevier Science (USA)
doi:10.1006/nimg.2002.1265 pmid:12498743 fatcat:r4spzm2tgrbgtb5sr46vfd4qoy