Motor planning and execution require a representational map of our body. Since the body can assume different postures, it is not known how it is represented in this map. Moreover, is the generation of the motor command favored by some body configurations? We investigated the existence of a centrally favored posture of the hand for action, in search of physiological and behavioral advantages due to central motor processing. We tested two opposite hand pinch grips, equally difficult and commonly used: forearm pronated, thumb-down, index-up pinch against the same grip performed with thumb-up. The former revealed faster movement onset, sign of faster neural computation, and faster target reaching. It induced increased corticospinal excitability, independently on pre-stimulus tonic muscle contraction. Remarkably, motor excitability also increased when thumb-down pinch was only observed, imagined, or prepared, actually keeping the hand at rest. Motor advantages were independent of any concurrent modulation due to somatosensory input, as shown by testing afferent inhibition. Results provide strong behavioral and physiological evidence for a preferred hand posture favoring brain motor control, independently by somatosensory processing. This suggests the existence of a baseline postural representation that may serve as an a priori spatial reference for body-space interaction.

Behavioral and Physiological Evidence of a favored Hand Posture in the Body Representation for Action

D'Alonzo M.;DI Lazzaro V.;DI Pino G.
2021-01-01

Abstract

Motor planning and execution require a representational map of our body. Since the body can assume different postures, it is not known how it is represented in this map. Moreover, is the generation of the motor command favored by some body configurations? We investigated the existence of a centrally favored posture of the hand for action, in search of physiological and behavioral advantages due to central motor processing. We tested two opposite hand pinch grips, equally difficult and commonly used: forearm pronated, thumb-down, index-up pinch against the same grip performed with thumb-up. The former revealed faster movement onset, sign of faster neural computation, and faster target reaching. It induced increased corticospinal excitability, independently on pre-stimulus tonic muscle contraction. Remarkably, motor excitability also increased when thumb-down pinch was only observed, imagined, or prepared, actually keeping the hand at rest. Motor advantages were independent of any concurrent modulation due to somatosensory input, as shown by testing afferent inhibition. Results provide strong behavioral and physiological evidence for a preferred hand posture favoring brain motor control, independently by somatosensory processing. This suggests the existence of a baseline postural representation that may serve as an a priori spatial reference for body-space interaction.
2021
body representation
body schema
hand posture
motor control
TMS
Adult
Electromyography
Evoked Potentials, Motor
Female
Hand
Hand Strength
Humans
Imagination
Male
Middle Aged
Motor Cortex
Photic Stimulation
Posture
Young Adult
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12610/66181
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