Explaining patterns of neural activity in the primary motor cortex using spinal cord and limb biomechanics models

Ehud Trainin, Ron Meir, Amir Karniel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

What determines the specific pattern of activation of primary motor cortex (M1) neurons in the context of a given motor task? We present a systems level physiological model describing the transformation from the neural activity in M1, through the muscle control signal, into joint torques and down to endpoint forces and movements. The redundancy of the system is resolved by biologically plausible optimization criteria. The model explains neural activity at both the population, and single neuron, levels. Due to the model's relative simplicity and analytic tractability, it provides intuition as to the most salient features of the system as well as a possible causal explanation of how these determine the overall behavior. Moreover, it explains a large number of recent observations, including the temporal patterns of single-neuron and population firing rates during isometric and movement tasks, narrow tuning curves, non cosine tuning curves, changes of preferred directions during a task, and changes of preferred directions due to different experimental conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3736-3750
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Volume97
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)
  • Physiology

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