Drawing lines while imagining circles: Neural basis of the bimanual coupling effect during motor execution and motor imagery

Francesca Garbarini, Federico D'Agata, Alessandro Piedimonte, Katiuscia Sacco, Marco Rabuffetti, Fred Tam, Franco Cauda, Lorenzo Pia, Giuliano Geminiani, Sergio Duca, Simon J. Graham, Anna Berti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

When people simultaneously draw lines with one hand and circles with the other hand, both trajectories tend to assume an oval shape, showing that hand motor programs interact (the so-called "bimanual coupling effect"). The aim of the present study was to investigate how motor parameters (drawing trajectories) and the related brain activity vary during bimanual movements both in real execution and in motor imagery tasks. In the 'Real' modality, subjects performed right hand movements (lines) and, simultaneously, Congruent (lines) or Non-congruent (circles) left hand movements. In the 'Imagery' modality, subjects performed only right hand movements (lines) and, simultaneously, imagined Congruent (lines) or Non-congruent (circles) left hand movements. Behavioral results showed a similar interference of both the real and the imagined circles on the actually executed lines, suggesting that the coupling effect also pertains to motor imagery. Neuroimaging results showed that a prefrontal-parietal network, mostly involving the pre-Supplementary Motor Area (pre-SMA) and the posterior parietal cortex (PPC), was significantly more active in Non-congruent than in Congruent conditions, irrespective of task (Real or Imagery). The data also confirmed specific roles of the right superior parietal lobe (SPL) in mediating spatial interference, and of the left PPC in motor imagery. Collectively, these findings suggest that real and imagined Non-congruent movements activate common circuits related to the intentional and predictive operation generating bimanual coupling, in which the pre-SMA and the PPC play a crucial role.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-112
Number of pages13
JournalNeuroImage
Volume88
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

Keywords

  • Bimanual coupling effect
  • Circles-Lines paradigm
  • FMRI
  • Intention-programming system
  • Motor execution
  • Motor imagery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neurology

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    Garbarini, F., D'Agata, F., Piedimonte, A., Sacco, K., Rabuffetti, M., Tam, F., Cauda, F., Pia, L., Geminiani, G., Duca, S., Graham, S. J., & Berti, A. (2014). Drawing lines while imagining circles: Neural basis of the bimanual coupling effect during motor execution and motor imagery. NeuroImage, 88, 100-112. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.10.061