Coordinative task difficulty and behavioural errors are associated with increased long-range beta band synchronization

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The neural network and the task-dependence of (local) activity changes involved in bimanual coordination are well documented. However, much less is known about the functional connectivity within this neural network and its modulation according to manipulations of task complexity. Here, we assessed neural activity via high-density electroencephalography, focussing on changes of activity in the beta frequency band (˜15–30 Hz) across the motor network in 26 young adult participants (19–29 years old). We investigated how network connectivity was modulated with task difficulty and errors of performance during a bimanual visuomotor movement consisting of dial rotation according to three different ratios of speed: an isofrequency movement (1:1), a non-isofrequency movement with the right hand keeping the fast pace (1:3), and the converse ratio with the left hand keeping the fast pace (3:1). To quantify functional coupling, we determined neural synchronization which might be key for the timing of the activity within brain regions during task execution. Individual source activity with realistic head models was reconstructed at seven regions of interest including frontal and parietal areas, among which we estimated phase-based connectivity. Partial least squares analysis revealed a significant modulation of connectivity with task difficulty, and significant correlations between connectivity and errors in performance, in particular between sensorimotor cortices. Our findings suggest that modulation of long-range synchronization is instrumental for coping with increasing task demands in bimanual coordination.

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