Analyzing a complex visuomotor tracking task with brain-electrical event related potentials

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Non-invasive techniques such as neuroimaging and event-related potential (ERP) methods have dramatically enhanced our understanding of the human brain. According to the requirements of the applied method, it is useful to simplify tasks for methodological reasons. In the present study we tested whether ERP measures are also suitable for analyzing complex tasks. In order to do this, we developed an analysis strategy based on the post hoc analysis of the behavioural data. We applied this method to a pursuit-tracking task of 25 s trial duration, consisting of repeated and non-repeated waveforms, where subjects had to track a target cross with a mouse-controlled cursor cross. An EEG was recorded from 62 channels. Response-locked ERPs were computed for two types of error correction: the correction of errors induced externally by the change of target direction and of internal errors generated by the subject itself.

We found several ERP components that could be assigned to different feedback and feedforward controlled processing steps in the frontoparietal circuitry underlying visuomotor control, such as movement planning, movement execution (motor potential), reafferent activity, visuospatial analysis, and attentional (P300) processes. Our results support newer models that propose a role for the posterior parietal cortex in integrating multimodal sensory information. In addition, fast (about 180 ms and probably facilitated by anticipation) and slow (about 230–260 ms) error corrections could be differentiated by the time course of ERP activity.

Our results show that complex (motor) tasks can be investigated with ERPs. This opens fruitful perspectives for future research on motor control in an ecological setting.
ZeitschriftHuman movement science
Seiten (von - bis)1 - 30
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 28.02.2005

ID: 1874742

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