Temporal dynamics of motor coordination in bimanual load lifting

Tommy H. B. Ng, Paul F. Sowman, Jon Brock, Blake W. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract


When a waiter lifts a glass of wine from a tray of drinks balanced on one hand, the change in load on the load-bearing arm must be anticipated and pre-emptively countered with spatiotemporal precision. This means that neural processes associated with movement in one arm must be precisely coordinated with anticipatory postural adjustments (APA) in the other, in order to maintain postural stability and avoid spillage. Little is currently known about the neural underpinnings of movement-APA coordination in humans. We measured brain activity with whole-head magnetoencephalography while participants performed a bimanual load-lifting task. Results indicated that motor structures subserving such coordination were activated in a distinct, temporal order - first in the primary motor cortex contralateral to the load-lifting arm, then, in the cerebellum, and lastly, in the basal ganglia, supplementary motor area, thalamus, primary- and pre- motor cortices contralateral to the load-bearing arm. These data contribute to our understanding of the underlying mechanisms supporting movement-APA coordination in healthy adults. Information about the timing of signature neural events is likely to be useful in elucidating motor coordination problems in a variety of motor and cognitive syndromes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241
Number of pages1
JournalClinical EEG and neuroscience
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventAustralasian Cognitive Neurosciences Conference (21st : 2011) - Sydney
Duration: 9 Dec 201112 Dec 2011

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