1. Computational and Systems Biology
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Distributed task-specific processing of somatosensory feedback for voluntary motor control

  1. Mohsen Omrani
  2. Chantelle D Murnaghan
  3. J Andrew Pruszynski
  4. Stephen H Scott  Is a corresponding author
  1. Queen's Univertsity, Canada
  2. Queen's University, Canada
  3. Western University, Canada
Research Article
  • Cited 36
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Cite this article as: eLife 2016;5:e13141 doi: 10.7554/eLife.13141


Corrective responses to limb disturbances are surprisingly complex, but the neural basis of these goal-directed responses is poorly understood. Here we show that somatosensory feedback is transmitted to many sensory and motor cortical regions within 25ms of a mechanical disturbance applied to the monkey's arm. When limb feedback was salient to an ongoing motor action (task engagement), neurons in parietal area 5 immediately (~25ms) increased their response to limb disturbances, whereas neurons in other regions did not alter their response until 15 to 40ms later. In contrast, initiation of a motor action elicited by a limb disturbance (target selection) altered neural responses in primary motor cortex ~65ms after the limb disturbance, and then in dorsal premotor cortex, with no effect in parietal regions until 150ms post-perturbation. Our findings highlight broad parietofrontal circuits provide the neural substrate for goal-directed corrections, an essential aspect of highly skilled motor behaviors.

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Author details

  1. Mohsen Omrani

    Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queen's Univertsity, Kingston, Canada
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  2. Chantelle D Murnaghan

    Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  3. J Andrew Pruszynski

    Physiology and Pharmacology, Psychology, Western University, London, Canada
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  4. Stephen H Scott

    Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    Stephen H Scott, SHS is a Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of BKIN Technologies that commercializes the robotic technology used in this study.


Animal experimentation: The Queen's University Animal Care Committee approved all experimental procedures. (Protocol 1348)

Reviewing Editor

  1. Rui M Costa, Fundação Champalimaud, Portugal

Publication history

  1. Received: November 20, 2015
  2. Accepted: April 13, 2016
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: April 14, 2016 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: May 19, 2016 (version 2)


© 2016, Omrani et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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