Predicting grip force amplitude involves circuits in the anterior basal ganglia

Pooja Wasson, Janey Prodoehl, Stephen A. Coombes, Daniel M. Corcos, David E. Vaillancourt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The ability to grip objects allows us to perform many activities of daily living such as eating and drinking. Lesions to and disorders of the basal ganglia can cause deficits in grip force control. Although the prediction of grip force amplitude is an important component of performing a grip force task, the extant literature suggests that this process may not include the basal ganglia. This study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to explore the functional brain mechanisms underlying the prediction of grip force amplitude. The mean force and duration of force did not vary across prediction levels. As anticipated, the reaction time decreased with the level of grip force predictions. In confirmation of previous studies, the parieto-frontal and cerebellar circuits increased their fMRI signal as grip force predictability increased. In addition, the novel finding was that anterior nuclei in the basal ganglia such as caudate and anterior putamen also had an fMRI signal that increased with the level of grip force prediction. In contrast, the fMRI signal in posterior nuclei of the basal ganglia did not change with the level of prediction. These findings provide new evidence indicating that anterior basal ganglia nuclei are involved in the predictive scaling of precision grip force control. Further, the results provide additional support for the planning and parameterization model of the basal ganglia by demonstrating that specific anterior nuclei of the basal ganglia are involved in planning grip force.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3230-3238
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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