Brain activity correlates differentially with increasing temporal complexity of rhythms during initialisation, synchronisation, and continuation phases of paced finger tapping

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  • Authors:
  • P. A. Lewis
  • A. M. Wing
  • P. A. Pope
  • P. Praamstra
  • R. C. Miall


Activity in parts of the human motor system has been shown to correlate with the complexity of performed motor sequences in terms of the number of limbs moved, number of movements, and number of trajectories. Here, we searched for activity correlating with temporal complexity, in terms of the number of different intervals produced in the sequence, using an overlearned tapping task. Our task was divided into three phases: movement selection and initiation (initiate), synchronisation of finger tapping with an external auditory cue (synchronise), and continued tapping in absence of the auditory pacer (continue). Comparisons between synchronisation and continuation showed a pattern in keeping with prior neuroimaging studies of paced finger tapping. Thus, activation of bilateral SMA and basal ganglia was greater in continuation tapping than in synchronisation tapping. Parametric analysis revealed activity correlating with temporal complexity during initiate in bilateral supplementary and pre-supplementary motor cortex (SMA and preSMA), rostral dorsal premotor cortex (PMC), basal ganglia, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), among other areas. During synchronise, correlated activity was observed in bilateral SMA, more caudal dorsal and ventral PMC, right DLPFC and right primary motor cortex. No correlated activity was observed during continue at P

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1301-1312
Number of pages11
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2004