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  Motor significance overrides attentional modulation – Premotor cortex investigated with fMRI

Wolfensteller, U., Schubotz, R. I., & von Cramon, D. Y. (2004). Motor significance overrides attentional modulation – Premotor cortex investigated with fMRI. Poster presented at 7th Tübinger Wahrnehmungskonferenz, Tübingen, Germany.

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Wolfensteller, Uta1, Author              
Schubotz, Ricarda Ines1, Author              
von Cramon, D. Yves1, Author              
1Department Cognitive Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634563              


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 Abstract: The lateral premotor cortex is known to be modulated by attention to different stimulus properties. This has been suggested to reflect a representation of perceived stimuli according to a habitual pragmatic body map. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate whether an arbitrarily assigned motor significance for a particular stimulus property influences the premotor activation during a purely perceptual serial prediction task. To this end, subjects trained a sensorimotor mapping linking either four objects of different size or four spatial orientations to the four fingers of one hand. We employed a two by two mixed design with between-subject factor TRAINING (motor significant stimulus property object size vs. spatial orientation) and within-subject factor PROPERTY (attended stimulus property object size vs. spatial orientation). During the experiment, all subjects performed in both serial prediction of object sizes as well as of spatial orientations. Additionally, we introduced catch trials (11%) for the motor significant property, where subjects were required to reproduce the encoded sequence, in order to test the sensorimotor mapping. In a first step, activation during encoding a sequence was contrasted with activation in control trials separately for sequences with and without motor significance. In the following, these contrasts were compared between subjects who were attending to object sizes and subjects who were attending to spatial orientations. We expected attending to object sizes to elicit more ventral premotor activation as compared to attending to spatial orientations, which we expected to elicit more dorsal premotor activation [1]. Results showed that this pattern was present in trials without a motor significance, whereas it vanished in trials with a motor significance. These results were further confirmed by discriminant analyses on sagittal and axial location of individual activation peaks. Subjects attending to objects could be discriminated from subjects attending to spatial orientations on the basis of their axial location within the left hemisphere in trials without motor significance, while this was impossible in trials with motor significance. Moreover, the mean coordinate of maximal activation in trials with motor significance was located in a more dorsal part of the premotor cortex, regardless of whether subjects attended to object sizes or spatial orientations. Thus, an arbitrarily assigned motor significance influences premotor activation, overriding the property specificity. This points to an extreme flexibility of premotor cortex in the adaptation to different task demands. [1] Schubotz, R.I. and von Cramon, D.Y. (2001): Brain Res Cogn Brain Res.11, 97-112


Language(s): eng - English
 Publication Status: Not specified
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 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: eDoc: 391767
Other: R2845
 Degree: -


Title: 7th Tübinger Wahrnehmungskonferenz
Place of Event: Tübingen, Germany
Start-/End Date: 2004-01-30 - 2004-02-01

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