The Beat Goes On: Rhythmic Modulation of Cortical Potentials by Imagined Tapping

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Abstract

A frequency analysis was used to tag cortical activity from imagined rhythmic movements. Participants synchronized overt and imagined taps with brief visual stimuli presented at a constant rate, alternating between left and right index fingers. Brain potentials were recorded from across the scalp and topographic maps made of their power at the alternation frequency between left and right taps. Two prominent power foci occurred in each hemisphere for both overt and imagined taps, one over sensorimotor cortex and the other over posterior parietal cortex, with homologous foci in opposite hemispheres arising from oscillations 180° out of phase. These findings demonstrate temporal isomorphism at a neural level between overt and imagined movements and illustrate a new approach to studying covert actions.

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