Motor Planning Is Evidence of How Coordinated the CNS Is

We frequently organize our movements in advance to behave effectively. Historically, motor planning has been investigated in trials where people are given time to prepare before performing a movement that has been predetermined. A well-established behavioral outcome of motor planning is that movements can start more quickly. From a neurological perspective, preparatory activity in the premotor and primary motor cortex has been related to the advantage of motor planning on reaction time. Particularly, preliminary research has demonstrated that important aspects (such as direction, speed, and extent) of the impending movement greatly influence the anticipatory activity in these brain regions. The representational perspective of movement preparation, which is based on these findings, regards motor plans as parametric representations of movement features in the motor cortex. However, Only a limited comprehension of the underlying principles regulating the dynamics of preparatory activity is provided by this representational paradigm. Recent efforts have been undertaken to develop a more thorough theory of motor planning.

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The motor system is dynamic

This school of thought led to the proposal that complicated patterns of motor cortex activity should be seen as a dynamic system causing movement. According to this perspective, motor planning is the process of setting the dynamical system to the most suitable “initial condition” to effectively produce the required dynamics for the movement. A variety of sources of information backs up this dynamic system perspective of motor planning. One advantage of the dynamical systems theory is that it offers a theoretically simple explanation of the preparatory and motor impulses, which are notoriously challenging to separate at the level of individual neurons.

A study was conducted to assess this notion and focus was placed on the issue of multi-movement planning when several moves are prepared at once. Here it is proposed that the motor system faces an intriguing challenge with multi-movement planning, which can also be utilized to reveal novel predictions of the initial condition (IC) hypothesis. Using a non-spatial cue, a multi-movement planning task was created for the monkeys that required them to choose between two possible grabbing motions. The findings supported the initial condition hypothesis extended to the situation of multi-movement planning when the structure of preparatory activity was compared to the expectations of the dynamical systems theory. It was discovered that the preparation state for two potential movements is included in an optimal subspace that also contains the preparatory states for each movement planned independently.

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Clinical significance

These findings highlight a straightforward method for concurrently planning many movements and further support the idea that motor planning is a tightly regulated dynamical process. Motor activities and their various disorders can be better understood.


Movement is a part of our everyday life. The motor cortex’s neuronal activity patterns play a role in the planning of movements, its dynamic nature makes it possible for the preparatory phase of the movement to be optimized.


Parallel planning through an optimal neural subspace in motor cortex | bioRxiv



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