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Conserved principles of movement generation

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact John Mollon.

The host for this talk is Dr. Máté Lengyel, Engineering Dept., m.lengyel@eng.cam.ac.uk

Many studies, across many species, have examined the neural underpinnings of rhythmic motor behavior. Yet for the primate, most studies have focused on neural activity during discrete reaching movements. Accordingly, studies of primate motor cortex have focused on how neural activity relates to quantities – direction, velocity – that naturally parameterize reaching movements. Despite that focus, motor cortex responses remain poorly explained by all current hypotheses regarding what activity might be tuned for. Employing novel theoretical and experimental approaches, we find that cortical responses during reaching exhibit many of the fundamental properties seen during rhythmic movement in simpler organisms. These findings suggest that motor cortex should be thought of not as a system for representing movement parameters, but as an engine for generating movement. That neural engine appears to exploit conserved principles that persist across widely disparate species and varieties of movement.

This talk is part of the Craik Club series.

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