Neurophysiological correlates of preparation for action measured by electroencephalography

Kourtis, Dimitrios (2008). Neurophysiological correlates of preparation for action measured by electroencephalography. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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The optimal performance of an action depends to a great extend on the ability of a person to prepare in advance the appropriate kinetic and kinematic parameters at a specific point in time in order to meet the demands of a given situation and to foresee its consequences to the surrounding environment. In the research presented in this thesis, I employed high-density electroencephalography in order to study the neural processes underlying preparation for action. A typical way for studying preparation for action in neuroscience is to divide it in temporal preparation (when to respond) and event preparation (what response to make). In Chapter 2, we identified electrophysiological signs of implicit temporal preparation in a task where such preparation was not essential for the performance of the task. Electrophysiological traces of implicit timing were found in lateral premotor, parietal as well as occipital cortices. In Chapter 3, explicit temporal preparation was assessed by comparing anticipatory and reactive responses to periodically or randomly applied external loads, respectively. Higher (pre)motor preparatory activity was recorded in the former case, which resulted in lower post-load motor cortex activation and consequently to lower long-latency reflex amplitude. Event preparation was the theme of Chapter 4, where we introduced a new method for studying (at the source level) the generator mechanisms of lateralized potentials related to response selection, through the interaction with steady-state somatosensory responses. Finally, in Chapter 5 we provided evidence for the existence of concurrent and mutually inhibiting representations of multiple movement options in premotor and primary motor areas.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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