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Jena Velji-Ibrahim, J. Douglas Crawford, Simona Monaco; Beyond sensory processing: Human neuroimaging shows task-dependent functional connectivity between V1 and somatomotor areas during action planning. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):70. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/18.10.70.
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To execute actions in daily life successfully, our brain needs to process information about the orientation and location of a target object. Previous studies have found that the activity in the early visual cortex can be used to predict upcoming actions (Gutteling et al., 2015; van Elk et al., 2010). These findings suggest that the early visual cortex is functionally connected to higher-level cortical areas involved in action preparation. To explore this, we examined whether the primary visual cortex (V1) is connected to motor and somatosensory areas in a task-dependent manner during action planning. We used a slow event-related fMRI paradigm in which participants (N=16) performed actions with their right hand towards two objects placed on either side of a fixation cross. The object on the right and left were oriented at 45° and 135°, respectively. At the beginning of each trial, an auditory cue indicated the action type (Align Hand right, Align Hand left, Open Hand right, Open Hand left). A delay of ten seconds was followed by a go cue for action execution. Standard retinotopic mapping procedures were used to identify the boundaries of V1. While Align movements required participants to adjust their hand precisely according to the orientation of the object, Open Hand movements were coarse. Therefore, we hypothesized enhanced functional connectivity between V1 and areas involved in motor planning during the Align as compared to the Open Hand task. As predicted, psychophysiological interaction analysis showed a stronger functional connectivity between V1 with dorsal stream and somatomotor areas including primary motor and somatosensory cortex (M1/S1) during planning for the Align versus Open Hand tasks. These connections may play a role in the anticipation of the visual consequences of movement execution during action planning.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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