Open Access Open Badges Research article

Non-dominant hand movement facilitates the frontal N30 somatosensory evoked potential

Wynn Legon, Jennifer K Dionne, Sean K Meehan and W Richard Staines*

Author affiliations

Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave. West, Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1, Canada

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Citation and License

BMC Neuroscience 2010, 11:112  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-11-112

Published: 7 September 2010



Previous literature has shown that the frontal N30 is increased during movement of the hand contralateral to median nerve stimulation. This finding was a result of non-dominant left hand movement in right-handed participants. It is unclear however if the effect depends upon non-dominant hand movement or if this is a generalized phenomenon across the upper-limbs. This study tests the effect of dominant and non-dominant hand movement upon contralateral frontal and parietal somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) and further tests if this relationship persists in left hand dominant participants. Median nerve SEPs were elicited from the wrist contralateral to movement in both right hand and left hand dominant participants alternating the movement hand in separate blocks. Participants were required to volitionally squeeze (~ 20% of a maximal voluntary contraction) a pressure-sensitive bulb every ~3 seconds with the hand contralateral to median nerve stimulation. SEPs were continuously collected during the task and individual traces were grouped into time bins relative to movement according to the timing of components of the Bereitschaftspotential. SEPs were then averaged and quantified from both FCZ and CP3/4 scalp electrode sites during both the squeeze task and at rest.


The N30 is facilitated during non-dominant hand movement in both right and left hand dominant individuals. There was no effect for dominant hand movement in either group.


N30 amplitude increase may be a result of altered sensory gating from motor areas known to be specifically active during non-dominant hand movement.