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Complexity-dependent modulations of beta oscillations for verbal and nonverbal movements

De Nil, L., Isabella, S., Jobst, C., Kwon, S., Mollaei, F. ORCID: and Cheyne, D. (2021) Complexity-dependent modulations of beta oscillations for verbal and nonverbal movements. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research. ISSN 1558-9102

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1044/2021_JSLHR-20-00275


Purpose The planning and execution of motor behaviors require coordination of neurons that are established through synchronization of neural activity. Movements are typically preceded by event-related desynchronization (ERD) in the beta range (15–30 Hz) primarily localized in the motor cortex, while movement onset is associated with event-related synchronization (ERS). It is hypothesized that ERD is important for movement preparation and execution, and ERS serves to inhibit movement and update the motor plan. The primary objective of this study was to determine to what extent movement-related oscillatory brain patterns (ERD and ERS) during verbal and nonverbal tasks may be affected differentially by variations in task complexity. Method Seventeen right-handed adult participants (nine women, eight men; Mage = 25.8 years, SD = 5.13) completed a sequential button press and verbal task. The final analyses included data for 15 participants for the nonverbal task and 13 for the verbal task. Both tasks consisted of two complexity levels: simple and complex sequences. Magnetoencephalography was used to record modulations in beta band brain oscillations during task performance. Results Both the verbal and button press tasks were characterized by significant premovement ERD and postmovement ERS. However, only simple sequences showed a distinct transient synchronization during the premovement phase of the task. Differences between the two tasks were reflected in both latency and peak amplitude of ERD and ERS, as well as in lateralization of oscillations. Conclusions Both verbal and nonverbal movements showed a significant desynchronization of beta oscillations during the movement preparation and holding phase and a resynchronization upon movement termination. Importantly, the premovement phase for simple but not complex tasks was characterized by a transient partial synchronization. In addition, the data revealed significant differences between the two tasks in terms of lateralization of oscillatory modulations. Our findings suggest that, while data from the general motor control research can inform our understanding of speech motor control, significant differences exist between the two motor systems that caution against overgeneralization of underlying neural control processes.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Neuroscience
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
ID Code:97893
Publisher:American Speech-Language-Hearing Association


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