Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991) vol:14 issue:10 pages:1153-63
In bimanual movements, interference emerges when limbs are moved simultaneously along incompatible directions. The neural substrate and mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are largely unknown. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to compare brain activation during directional incompatible versus compatible bimanual movements. Our main results were that directional interference emerges primarily within superior parietal, intraparietal and dorsal premotor areas of the right hemisphere. The same areas were also activated when the unimanual subtasks were executed in isolation. In light of previous findings in monkeys and humans, we conclude that directional interference activates a parieto-premotor circuit that is involved in the control of goal-directed movements under somatosensory guidance. Moreover, our data suggest that the parietal cortex might represent an important locus for integrating spatial aspects of the limbs' movements into a common action. It is hypothesized to be the candidate structure from where interference arises when directionally incompatible movements are performed. We discuss the possibility that interference emerges when computational resources in these parietal areas are insufficient to code two incompatible movement directions independently from each other.