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The speed with which one reacts to an imperative signal depends on the extent to which preceding cues predict that command. When reliable warning cues are available, the processing of the imperative stimulus can be favoured and responses partially pre-prepared, leading to shorter reaction times. Here we seek evidence for involvement of the human basal ganglia in the exploitation of behaviourally relevant predictive cues. To this end, local field potentials (LFPs) were recorded in the region of the subthalamic nuclei of parkinsonian patients during the performance of a pre-cued reaction task in which the cue either predicted or failed to predict the demands of the imperative signal. We demonstrate that LFP activity in the beta frequency band ( approximately 20 Hz) is modulated by the behavioural relevance of the external cue. The findings suggest that, first, the subthalamic nucleus is involved in mediating or facilitating the response advantage derived from predictive cues in humans and, secondly, variations in synchronous neuronal activity in the beta band may contribute to this function in the subthalamic nucleus.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1975 - 1985


Aged, Basal Ganglia, Biological Clocks, Cues, Electroencephalography, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Parkinson Disease, Photic Stimulation, Reaction Time, Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted, Subthalamic Nucleus