Cortical potentials preceding voluntary movement: evidence for three periods of preparation in man

Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology
G BarrettR Neshige


We have recorded movement-related cortical potentials (MRCPs) to voluntary middle finger extension from 10 young and 10 old subjects free of neurological disease using the method of detecting EMG onset associated with each movement described by Barrett et al. (1985). The slow potential shifts preceding movement were measured by fitting a linear regression line to the wave forms to obtain a measure of their slope. Three separate potential shifts were identified. The first had a scalp distribution and onset latency similar to the Bereitschaftspotential (BP) first reported by Kornhuber and Deecke (1964, 1965). The potential shift immediately preceding movement corresponded with the NS' of Shibasaki et al. (1980). We identified, for the first time, a third shift intervening between BP and NS' and named it the intermediate shift (IS). The onset of BP occurred about 1.6 sec before EMG onset and was followed by IS which began about 875 msec before movement. The onset of NS' occurred 300 msec before EMG onset and terminated about 90 msec before this event. The slope of BP preceding right finger movement was steeper than that preceding left hand movement in all our right-handed subjects. The distribution of BP was symmetric about the mi...Continue Reading


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