Response certainty during bimanual movements reduces gamma oscillations in primary motor cortex

Alex I. Wiesman, Nicholas J. Christopher-Hayes, Jacob A. Eastman, Elizabeth Heinrichs-Graham, Tony W. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Even when movement outputs are identical, the neural responses supporting them might differ substantially in order to adapt to changing environmental contexts. Despite the essential nature of this adaptive capacity of the human motor system, little is known regarding the effects of contextual response (un)certainty on the neural dynamics known to serve motor processing. In this study, we use a novel bimanual motor task and neuroimaging with magnetoencephalography (MEG) to examine the effects of contextual response certainty on the dynamic neural responses that are important for proper movement. Significant neural responses were identified in the time-frequency domain at the sensor-level and imaged to the cortex using a spectrally resolved beamformer. Combined frequentist and Bayesian statistical testing between neural motor responses under certain and uncertain conditions indicated evidence for no conditional effect on the peri-movement beta desynchronization (18 – 28 Hz; -100 to 300 ms). In contrast, the movement-related gamma synchronization (MRGS; 66 – 86 Hz; -50 to 150 ms) exhibited a robust effect of motor certainty, such that increased contextual response certainty reduced the amplitude of this response. Interestingly, the peak frequency of the MRGS was unaffected by response certainty. These findings both advance our understanding of the neural processes required to adapt our movements under altered environmental contexts, and support the growing conceptualization of the MRGS as being reflective of ongoing higher cognitive processes during movement execution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117448
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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