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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

The effect of unpredicted visual feedback on activation in the secondary somatosensory cortex during movement execution

Toshiaki Wasaka* and Ryusuke Kakigi

Author Affiliations

Department of Integrative Physiology, National Institute for Physiological Sciences, 38 Nishigonaka, Myodaiji, Okazaki, Aichi, 4448585, Japan

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BMC Neuroscience 2012, 13:138  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-13-138

Published: 5 November 2012



A mechanism that monitors the congruence between sensory inputs and motor outputs is necessary to control voluntary movement. The representation of limb position is constantly updated on the basis of somatosensory and visual information and efference copy from motor areas. However, the cortical mechanism underlying detection of limb position using somatosensory and visual information has not been elucidated. This study investigated the influence of visual feedback on information processing in somatosensory areas during movement execution using magnetoencephalography. We used an experimental condition in which the visual information was incongruent despite the motor execution and somatosensory feedback being congruent. Subjects performed self-paced bimanual movements of both thumbs, either symmetric or asymmetric, under normal visual and mirrored conditions. The mirror condition provided a visual feedback by showing a reflection of the subject’s right hand in place of the left hand. Therefore, in the Asymmetric task of the Mirror condition, subjects saw symmetric movements despite performing asymmetric movements.


Activation in the primary somatosensory area (SI) revealed inhibition of neural activity and that in the secondary somatosensory area (SII) showed enhancement with voluntary movement. In addition, the SII contralateral to the side of stimulation was significantly enhanced in the Asymmetric task of the Mirror condition, which provided non-veridical visual feedback.


These results suggested that visual information influenced the neuronal activity concerning sensorimotor interaction in the SII during motor execution. The SII contributes to the detection of unpredicted visual feedback of movement execution.

MEG; Sensorimotor integration; Bimanual movement; SII