Beta-band activity and connectivity in sensorimotor and parietal cortex are important for accurate motor performance

Jae W. Chung, Edward Ofori, Gaurav Misra, Christopher W. Hess, David E. Vaillancourt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Accurate motor performance may depend on the scaling of distinct oscillatory activity within the motor cortex and effective neural communication between the motor cortex and other brain areas. Oscillatory activity within the beta-band (13–30 Hz) has been suggested to provide distinct functional roles for attention and sensorimotor control, yet it remains unclear how beta-band and other oscillatory activity within and between cortical regions is coordinated to enhance motor performance. We explore this open issue by simultaneously measuring high-density cortical activity and elbow flexor and extensor neuromuscular activity during ballistic movements, and manipulating error using high and low visual gain across three target distances. Compared with low visual gain, high visual gain decreased movement errors at each distance. Group analyses in 3D source-space revealed increased theta-, alpha-, and beta-band desynchronization of the contralateral motor cortex and medial parietal cortex in high visual gain conditions and this corresponded to reduced movement error. Dynamic causal modeling was used to compute connectivity between motor cortex and parietal cortex. Analyses revealed that gain affected the directionally-specific connectivity across broadband frequencies from parietal to sensorimotor cortex but not from sensorimotor cortex to parietal cortex. These new findings provide support for the interpretation that broad-band oscillations in theta, alpha, and beta frequency bands within sensorimotor and parietal cortex coordinate to facilitate accurate upper limb movement. Summary statement Our findings establish a link between sensorimotor oscillations in the context of online motor performance in common source space across subjects. Specifically, the extent and distinct role of medial parietal cortex to sensorimotor beta connectivity and local domain broadband activity combine in a time and frequency manner to assist ballistic movements. These findings can serve as a model to examine whether similar source space EEG dynamics exhibit different time-frequency changes in individuals with neurological disorders that cause movement errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-173
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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