Coordination of multiple joints increases bilateral connectivity with ipsilateral sensorimotor cortices

Kevin B. Wilkins, Jun Yao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Although most activities of daily life require simultaneous coordination of both proximal and distal joints, motor preparation during such movements has not been well studied. Previous results for motor preparation have focused on hand/finger movements. For simple hand/finger movements, results have found that such movements typically evoke activity primarily in the contralateral motor cortices. However, increasing the complexity of the finger movements, such as during a distal sequential finger-pressing task, leads to additional recruitment of ipsilateral resources. It has been suggested that this involvement of the ipsilateral hemisphere is critical for temporal coordination of distal joints. The goal of the current study was to examine whether increasing simultaneous coordination of multiple joints (both proximal and distal) leads to a similar increase in coupling with ipsilateral sensorimotor cortices during motor preparation compared to a simple distal movement such as hand opening. To test this possibility, 12 healthy individuals participated in a high-density EEG experiment in which they performed either hand opening or simultaneous hand opening while lifting at the shoulder on a robotic device. We quantified within- and cross-frequency cortical coupling across the sensorimotor cortex for the two tasks using dynamic causal modeling. Both hand opening and simultaneous hand opening while lifting at the shoulder elicited coupling from secondary motor areas to primary motor cortex within the contralateral hemisphere exclusively in the beta band, as well as from ipsilateral primary motor cortex. However, increasing the task complexity by combining hand opening while lifting at the shoulder also led to an increase in cross-frequency coupling within the ipsilateral hemisphere including theta, beta, and gamma frequencies, as well as a change in the coupling frequency of the interhemispheric coupling between the primary motor and premotor cortices. These findings demonstrate that increasing the demand of joint coordination between proximal and distal joints leads to increases in communication with the ipsilateral hemisphere as previously observed in distal sequential finger tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116344
StatePublished - Feb 15 2020


  • Complexity
  • Connectivity
  • Dynamic causal modeling (DCM)
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)
  • Motor planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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