Motor‐evoked potentials reveal a motor‐cortical readout of evidence accumulation for sensorimotor decisions

Hadar, Aviad, Rowe, Paula, Di Costa, Steven, Jones, Alexander ORCID logoORCID: and Yarrow, Kielan (2016) Motor‐evoked potentials reveal a motor‐cortical readout of evidence accumulation for sensorimotor decisions. Psychophysiology, 53 (11) . pp. 1721-1731. ISSN 0048-5772 [Article] (doi:10.1111/psyp.12737)

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Many everyday activities require time-pressured sensorimotor decision making. Traditionally, perception, decision, and action processes were considered to occur in series, but this idea has been successfully challenged, particularly by neurophysiological work in animals. However, the generality of parallel processing requires further elucidation. Here, we investigate whether the accumulation of a decision can be observed intrahemispherically within human motor cortex. Participants categorized faces as male or female, with task difficulty manipulated using morphed stimuli. Transcranial magnetic stimulation, applied during the reaction-time interval, produced motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) in two hand muscles that were the major contributors when generating the required pinch/grip movements. Smoothing MEPs using a Gaussian kernel allowed us to recover a continuous time-varying MEP average, comparable to an EEG component, permitting precise localization of the time at which the motor plan for the responding muscle became dominant. We demonstrate decision-related activity in the motor cortex during this perceptual discrimination task, suggesting ongoing evidence accumulation within the motor system even for two independent actions represented within one hemisphere.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 20481
Notes on copyright: Attached full text: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Hadar, A. A., Rowe, P., Di Costa, S., Jones, A. and Yarrow, K. (2016), Motor-evoked potentials reveal a motor-cortical readout of evidence accumulation for sensorimotor decisions. Psychophysiol, 53: 1721–1731. doi:10.1111/psyp.12737, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving ("
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Depositing User: Alexander Jones
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2016 09:58
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 21:32

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