Neural activity in the primary motor cortex (M1) is known to correlate with movement related variables including kinematics and dynamics. Our recent work, which we believe will lead to a paradigm shift in sensorimotor research, has shown that in addition to these movement related variables, activity in M1, and the primary somatosensory cortex (S1), are also modulated by context, such as value, during both active movement and movement observation. Here we expand on the investigation of reward modulation in M1, showing that reward level changes the neural tuning function of M1 units to both kinematic as well as dynamic related variables. In addition, we show that this reward-modulated activity is present during brain machine interface (BMI) control. We suggest that by taking into account these context dependencies of M1 modulation, we can produce more robust BMIs. Toward this goal, we demonstrate that we can classify multiple levels of reward from M1 on a movement-by-movement basis under BMI control and use this to gate multiple linear BMI decoders toward improved offline performance. These findings demonstrate that it is possible and meaningful to design a more accurate BMI decoder that takes reward and context into consideratio...Continue Reading
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