Journal article

Monitoring coordination during bimanual movements: where is the mastermind?

One remarkable aspect of the human motor repertoire is the multitude of bimanual actions it contains. Still, the neural correlates of coordinated movements, in which the two hands share a common goal, remain debated. To address this issue, we designed two bimanual circling tasks that differed only in terms of goal conceptualization: a "coordination" task that required movements of both hands to adapt to each other to reach a common goal and an "independent" task that imposed a separate goal to each hand. fMRI allowed us to pinpoint three areas located in the right hemisphere that were more strongly activated in the coordination condition: the superior temporal gyrus (STG), the SMA, and the primary motor cortex (M1). We then used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to disrupt transiently the function of those three regions to determine their causal role in bimanual coordination. Right STG virtual lesions impaired bimanual coordination, whereas TMS to right M1 enhanced hand independence. TMS over SMA, left STG, or left M1 had no effect. The present study provides direct insight into the neural correlates of coordinated bimanual movements and highlights the role of right STG in such bimanual movements.

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