Motor cortical activity during drawing movements: Population representation during lemniscate tracing

Andrew B. Schwartz, Daniel W. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Activity was recorded extracellularly from single cells in motor and premotor cortex as monkeys traced figure-eights on a touch-sensitive computer monitor using the index finger. Each unit was recorded individually, and the responses collected from four hemispheres (3 primary motor and 1 dorsal premotor) were analyzed as a population. Population vectors constructed from this activity accurately and isomorphically represented the shape of the drawn figures showing that they represent the spatial aspect of the task well. These observations were extended by examining the temporal relation between this neural representation and finger displacement. Movements generated during this task were made in four kinematic segments. This segmentation was clearly evident in a time series of population vectors. In addition, the 2/3 power law described for human drawing was also evident in the neural correlate of the monkey hand trajectory. Movement direction and speed changed continuously during the task. Within each segment, speed and direction changed reciprocally. The prediction interval between the population vector and movement direction increased in the middle of the segments where curvature was high, but decreased in straight portions at the beginning and end of each segment. In contrast to direction, prediction intervals between the movement speed and population vector length were near- constant with only a modest modulation in each segment. Population vectors predicted direction (vector angle) and speed (vector length) throughout the drawing task. Joint angular velocity and arm muscle EMG were well correlated to hand direction, suggesting that kinematic and kinetic parameters are correlated in these tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2705-2718
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999


Dive into the research topics of 'Motor cortical activity during drawing movements: Population representation during lemniscate tracing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this