This application is a request for continued support of an ongoing project. The overall goal of the project is to better understand the cognitive and brain bases of covert motor processes, particularly motor imagery. The project focuses on the activity of three cortical motor areas (primary, premotor, and supplementary) during overt movement and covert motor processes. The principal measures employed are based on event-related brain potentials. These measures have the temporal resolution to detect changes in brain activity occurring on the order of milliseconds and sufficient spatial resolution to monitor separately each of the above cortical areas. In the proposed new research, these measures will be combined with magnetic resonance images, in order to correct for distortions resulting from conduction of the electric signal through the skull and to locate sources of activation on an accurate map of the cortical surface. """"""""Functional coupling"""""""" between the cortical areas will be examined through measures of correlation between their moment-by-moment activities. The experiments conducted in the project to date have monitored the three motor areas under a wide range of conditions in which covert motor processes are known to take place. The new experiments will monitor these and other cortical areas during cognitive events in which covert motor processes have been hypothesized to play a role. These include observation of a skilled performance prior to its imitation, use of an """"""""articulatory loop """"""""to maintain information in working memory, and illusions evoked by viewing a moving phantom image of one's own limb . Also examined will be the covert motor processes responsible for the timing and serial order of hierarchical movement sequences, as well as the continuity between motor imagery and gentle overt movements. Findings from the project may help to 1) improve the efficacy of mental practice, observational learning, or treatment to aid motor recovery, 2) diagnose disorders of the motor system, and 3) determine the direct consequences of activity in the studied brain areas for learning, remembering, or tuning movement. At a broader level, the work will enhance our understanding of the motor system at both a functional and physiological level. Further information concerning its less known covert side may lead to unexpected insights about the motor system in general, including its possible roles in cognition.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BBBP-4 (01))
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Chen, Daofen
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University of Pennsylvania
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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