gating of movement-related neural activity ?

MGLinWS mglinws at
Sat Aug 19 21:26:30 EST 1995

Previous studies have established that the neural representation of
sensory activity is gated by the animal's motoric state.  Does anyone know
of any studies that show that the neural representation of movement is
gated by the animal's preparation to move ?  

I have been studying neural activity in the striatum and frontal cortex of
rats during reaction-time performance and have found that both preparatory
and movement-related activity differ with the animal's reaction-time and
with the length of the preparatory interval prior to the trigger stimulus.
The movements made by the animal appear to be constant independent of the
reaction-time and the length of the preparatory interval.  (This is based
on a detailed analysis of video-tape. I am currently recording EMG
activity together with neural activity to assess if the differences I see
are due to different patterns of muscle activity.)

As the striatum and frontal cortex are not primary motor structures, one
might expect that neural activity in these structures may vary with the
degree to which the animal is prepared to move (i.e., motor preparation,
readiness, preparatory set).  I interpret my data as evidence for motor
preparation gating the transmission of movement-related neural signals. 
Moreover, these data suggest that a "movement-related" neuron is not
necessarily responding to movement per se.

I wonder if my observation is novel or if I have rediscovered an already
obvious fact.  Any information will be greatly appreciated.

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