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Journal Article

Quasi-movements: A novel motor–cognitive phenomenon

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Nikulin, V. V., Hohlefeld, F. U., Jacobs, A. M., & Curio, G. (2008). Quasi-movements: A novel motor–cognitive phenomenon. Neuropsychologia, 46(2), 727-742. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2007.10.008.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-4183-A
We introduce quasi-movements and define them as volitional movements which are minimized by the subject to such an extent that finally they become undetectable by objective measures. They are intended as overt movements, but the absence of the measurable motor responses and the subjective experience make quasi-movements similar to motor imagery. We used the amplitude dynamics of electroencephalographic alpha oscillations as a marker of the regional involvement of cortical areas in three experimental tasks: movement execution, kinesthetic motor imagery, and quasi-movements. All three conditions were associated with a significant suppression of alpha oscillations over the sensorimotor hand area of the contralateral hemisphere. This suppression was strongest for executed movements, and stronger for quasi-movements than for motor imagery. The topography of alpha suppression was similar in all three conditions. Proprioceptive sensations related to quasi-movements contribute to the assumption that the “sense of movement” can originate from central efferent processes. Quasi-movements are also congruent with the postulated continuity between motor imagery and movement preparation/execution. We also show that in healthy subjects quasi-movements can be effectively used in brain–computer interface research leading to a significantly smaller classification error (∼47% of relative decrease) in comparison to the errors obtained with conventionally used motor imagery strategies.