Ready for change: Oscillatory mechanisms of proactive motor control

Matthias Liebrand, Jascha Kristek, Elinor Tzvi, Ulrike M. Krämer*

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


Proactive motor control is a preparatory mechanism facilitating upcoming action inhibition or adaptation. Previous studies investigating proactive motor control mostly focused on response inhibition, as in the classical go-nogo or stop-signal tasks. However, everyday life rarely calls for the complete suppression of actions without subsequent behavioral adjustment. Therefore, we conducted a modified cued go-nogo-change task, in which cues indicated whether participants might have to change to an alternative action or inhibit the response to an upcoming target. Based on the dual-mechanisms of control framework and using electroencephalography (EEG), we investigated the role of the sensorimotor cortex and of prefrontal regions in preparing to change and cancel motor responses. We focused on mu and beta power over sensorimotor cortex ipsi- and contralateral to an automatic motor response and on prefrontal beta power. Over ipsilateral sensorimotor cortex, mu and beta power was relatively decreased when anticipating to change or inhibit the automatic motor behavior. Moreover, alpha phase coupling between ipsilateral motor cortex and prefrontal areas decreased when preparing to change, suggesting a decoupling of sensorimotor regions from prefrontal control. When the standard motor action actually had to be changed, prefrontal beta power increased, reflecting enhanced cognitive control. Our data highlight the role of the ipsilateral motor cortex in preparing to inhibit and change upcoming motor actions. Here, especially mu power and phase coupling seem to be critical to guide upcoming behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0196855
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 01.05.2018

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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