Distinct Modulations in Sensorimotor Postmovement and Foreperiod β-Band Activities Related to Error Salience Processing and Sensorimotor Adaptation.
In a recent study, Tan et al. (2014a,b) showed that the increase in β-power typically observed after a movement above sensorimotor regions (β-rebound) is attenuated when movement-execution errors are induced by visual perturbations. Moreover, akin to sensorimotor adaptation, the effect depended on the context in which the errors are experienced. Thus the β-rebound attenuation might relate to neural processes involved in trial-to-trial adaptive mechanisms. In two EEG experiments with human participants, along with the β-rebound, we examine β-activity during the preparation of reaches immediately following perturbed movements. In the first experiment, we show that both foreperiod and postmovement β-activities are parametrically modulated by the sizes of kinematic errors produced by unpredictable mechanical perturbations (force field) independent of their on-line corrections. In the second experiment, we contrast two types of reach errors: movement-execution errors that trigger trial-to-trial adaptive mechanisms and goal errors that do not elicit sensorimotor adaptation. Movement-execution errors were induced by mechanical or visual perturbations, whereas goal errors were caused by unexpected displacements of the target at movement initiation. Interestingly, foreperiod and postmovement β-activities exhibit contrasting patterns, pointing to important functional differences of their underlying neuronal activity. While both types of reach errors attenuate the postmovement β-rebound, only the kinematic errors that trigger trial-to-trial motor-command updates influenced β-activity during the foreperiod. These findings suggest that the error-related modulation of the β-rebound may reflect salience processing, independent of sensorimotor adaptation. In contrast, modulations in the foreperiod β-power might relate to the motor-command adjustments activated after movement-execution errors are experienced.
SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: The functional significance of sensorimotor β-band (15-25 Hz) oscillations remains uncertain. Recently β-power was found to be reduced following erroneous movements. We extend and refine this novel finding in two crucial ways. First, by contrasting the EEG correlates of movement errors driving or not driving adaptation we dissociate error-salience processing from error-based adaptation. Second, in addition to β-activity in error trials, we examine β-power during the preparation of the subsequent movements. We find clearly distinct patterns of error-related modulations for β-activities preceding and succeeding movements, highlighting critical functional differences. Postmovement β-power may reflect error-salience processing independent of sensorimotor adaptation. In contrast, modulations in the foreperiod β-band power may directly relate to the motor-command adjustments activated after movement-execution errors are experienced.