Activation of the parieto-premotor network is associated with vivid motor imagery--a parametric FMRI study.

Institute for Sports Science, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Giessen, Germany.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 01/2011; 6(5):e20368. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020368
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The present study examined the neural basis of vivid motor imagery with parametrical functional magnetic resonance imaging. 22 participants performed motor imagery (MI) of six different right-hand movements that differed in terms of pointing accuracy needs and object involvement, i.e., either none, two big or two small squares had to be pointed at in alternation either with or without an object grasped with the fingers. After each imagery trial, they rated the perceived vividness of motor imagery on a 7-point scale. Results showed that increased perceived imagery vividness was parametrically associated with increasing neural activation within the left putamen, the left premotor cortex (PMC), the posterior parietal cortex of the left hemisphere, the left primary motor cortex, the left somatosensory cortex, and the left cerebellum. Within the right hemisphere, activation was found within the right cerebellum, the right putamen, and the right PMC. It is concluded that the perceived vividness of MI is parametrically associated with neural activity within sensorimotor areas. The results corroborate the hypothesis that MI is an outcome of neural computations based on movement representations located within motor areas.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A widely investigated question in the research on the acquisition of novel functional object representations is the role of the action system. Whereas most studies so far have investigated the role of active action training on the acquisition of object representation, we investigated whether people are able to acquire object representations by just imagining the use of novel objects, given that previous findings suggested that executed and imagined actions share a common representational format. To this end, participants trained the use of novel objects in a motor imagery condition. Training comprised the particular grip applied to the objects and the objects' typical end location. Subsequently, participants' object representations were assessed by means of an object detection task. The results show that participants responded slower when the novel objects were presented at functionally incorrect end locations, indicating that the participants had acquired functional knowledge about object use. Yet, there was no effect of correct versus incorrect grip. Altogether, the findings suggest that motor imagery can facilitate the acquisition of novel object representations, but point also to differences between first-hand action training and training by imagery.
    Experimental Brain Research 03/2012; 218(2):181-8. · 2.22 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Musicians use different kinds of imagery. This review focuses on kinesthetic imagery, which has been shown to be an effective complement to actively playing an instrument. However, experience in actual movement performance seems to be a requirement for a recruitment of those brain areas representing movement ideation during imagery. An internal model of movement performance might be more differentiated when training has been more intense or simply performed more often. Therefore, with respect to kinesthetic imagery, these strategies are predominantly found in professional musicians. There are a few possible reasons as to why kinesthetic imagery is used in addition to active training; one example is the need for mental rehearsal of the technically most difficult passages. Another reason for mental practice is that mental rehearsal of the piece helps to improve performance if the instrument is not available for actual training as is the case for professional musicians when they are traveling to various appearances. Overall, mental imagery in musicians is not necessarily specific to motor, somatosensory, auditory, or visual aspects of imagery, but integrates them all. In particular, the audiomotor loop is highly important, since auditory aspects are crucial for guiding motor performance. All these aspects result in a distinctive representation map for the mental imagery of musical performance. This review summarizes behavioral data, and findings from functional brain imaging studies of mental imagery of musical performance.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 01/2013; 7:280. · 2.91 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although motor imagery enhances the excitability of the corticospinal tract, there are no peripheral afferent inputs during motor imagery. In contrast, peripheral nerve electrical stimulation (ES) can induce peripheral afferent inputs; thus, a combination of motor imagery and ES may enhance the excitability of the corticospinal tract compared with motor imagery alone. Moreover, the level of stimulation intensity may also be related to the modulation of the excitability of the corticospinal tract during motor imagery. Here, we evaluated whether a combination of motor imagery and peripheral nerve ES influences the excitability of the corticospinal tract and measured the effect of ES intensity on the excitability induced during motor imagery. The imagined task was a movement that involved touching the thumb to the little finger, whereas ES involved simultaneous stimulation of the ulnar and median nerves at the wrist. Two different ES intensities were used, one above the motor threshold and another above the sensory threshold. Further, we evaluated whether actual movement with afferent input induced by ES modulates the excitability of the corticospinal tract as well as motor imagery. We found that a combination of motor imagery and ES enhanced the excitability of the motor cortex in the thenar muscle compared with the other condition. Furthermore, we established that the modulation of the corticospinal tract was related to ES intensity. However, we found that the excitability of the corticospinal tract induced by actual movement was enhanced by peripheral nerve ES above the sensory threshold.
    Experimental Brain Research 04/2013; · 2.22 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Jun 6, 2014