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Journal Article


Yamanaka K, Nozaki D. PLoS One 2013; 8(11): e82272.


Graduate School of Human Life Sciences, Showa Women's University, Tokyo, Japan.


(Copyright © 2013, Public Library of Science)








The ability to suddenly stop a planned movement or a movement being performed and restart it after a short interval is an important mechanism that allows appropriate behavior in response to contextual or environmental changes. However, performing such stop-and-restart movements smoothly is difficult at times. We investigated performance (response time) of stop-and-restart movements using a go/stop/re-go task and found consistent stop-and-restart difficulties after short (∼100 ms) stop-to-restart intervals (SRSI), and an increased probability of difficulties after longer (>200 ms) SRSIs, suggesting that two different mechanisms underlie stop-and-restart difficulties. Next, we investigated motor evoked potentials (MEPs) in a moving muscle induced by transcranial magnetic stimulation during a go/stop/re-go task. In re-go trials with a short SRSI (100 ms), the MEP amplitude continued to decrease after the re-go-signal onset, indicating that stop-and-restart difficulties with short SRSIs might be associated with a neural mechanism in the human motor system, namely, stop-related suppression of corticomotor (CM) excitability. Finally, we recorded electroencephalogram (EEG) activity during a go/stop/re-go task and performed a single-trial-based EEG power and phase time-frequency analysis. Alpha-band EEG phase locking to re-go-signal, which was only observed in re-go trials with long SRSI (250 ms), weakened in the delayed re-go response trials. These EEG phase dynamics indicate an association between stop-and-restart difficulties with long SRSIs and a neural mechanism in the human perception system, namely, decreased probability of EEG phase locking to visual stimuli. In contrast, smooth stop-and-restart human movement can be achieved in re-go trials with sufficient SRSI (150-200 ms), because release of stop-related suppression and simultaneous counter-activation of CM excitability may occur as a single task without second re-go-signal perception. These results suggest that skilled motor behavior is subject to various constraints in not only motor, but also perceptual (and attentional), systems.

Language: en


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