Bilateral dorsal fronto-parietal areas are associated with integration of visual motion information and timed motor action

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Abstract

Interaction with the environment often involves situations requiring visuomotor integration. For instance, in fast interceptive actions, the brain must integrate visual information of motion with the appropriate motor action. In such dynamic situation, the brain may control movement based on predictions of where the object will be in the future and when it will arrive there. Although previous studies have analyzed brain regions associated with processing visual information of motion, motor control and visuomotor integration with static objects, less is known about visuomotor integration with moving objects. In the present study we used an event-related fMRI experiment to investigate brain areas integrating visual information of motion with motor action in response to moving objects. Twenty healthy volunteers performed an interceptive task where they had to press a button in synchrony with the arrival of a horizontally moving target at a predefined location. They also performed two control tasks—simple reaction and attention to visual motion—in order to identify and exclude brain areas that would be involved in motor or visual motion processing components that are inherent to interceptive tasks. Through a conjunction analysis, we show greater BOLD signal in a bilateral dorsal fronto-parietal network, as well as the intraparietal sulcus, angular gyrus, and human visual motion area hV5+. We discuss these results with respect to their previously identified functions, and suggest they play a role in visuomotor integration with moving objects.

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