Effect of Visual Feedback on Brain Activation During Motor Tasks: An fMRI Study

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Jeremy W. Noble
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Janice J. Eng
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Lara A. Boyd
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This study examined the effect of visual feedback and force level on the neural mechanisms responsible for the performance of a motor task. We used a voxelwise fMRI approach to determine the effect of visual feedback (with and without) during a grip force task at 35% and 70% of maximum voluntary contraction. Two areas (contralateral rostral premotor cortex and putamen) displayed an interaction between force and feedback conditions. When the main effect of feedback condition was analyzed, higher activation when visual feedback was available was found in 22 of the 24 active brain areas, while the two other regions (contralateral lingual gyrus and ipsilateral precuneus) showed greater levels of activity when no visual feedback was available. The results suggest that there is a potentially confounding influence of visual feedback on brain activation during a motor task, and for some regions, this is dependent on the level of force applied.

Noble and Eng are with the Department of Physical Therapy, and the GF Strong Rehab Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Boyd is with the Department of Physical Therapy, and the Brain Behaviour Laboratory, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

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