Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Oscillatory synchronization in the beta (approximately 20 Hz) band is a common feature of human motor control, manifest at cortical and muscular levels during tonic contraction. Here we test the hypothesis that the influence of visual feedback on performance in a positional hold task is increased during bursts of beta-band synchrony in the corticospinal motor system. Healthy subjects were instructed to extend their forefinger while receiving high-gain visual feedback of finger position on a PC screen. Small step displacements of the feedback signal were triggered either by bursts of beta oscillations in scalp electroencephalogram or randomly with respect to cortical beta activity, and the resulting positional corrections expressed as a percentage of the step displacement. Corrective responses to beta and randomly triggered step changes in visual feedback were 41.7+/-4.9 and 31.5+/-6.8%, respectively (P<0.05). A marked increase in the coherence in the beta band was also found between muscle activity and cortical activity during the beta-triggered condition. The results suggest that phasic elevations of beta activity in the corticospinal motor system are associated with an increase in the gain of the motor response to visual feedback during a tonic hold task. Beta activity may index a motor state in which processing relevant to the control of positional hold tasks is promoted, with behavioural consequences.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Neurosci

Publication Date





3299 - 3304


Adult, Biological Clocks, Cortical Synchronization, Electroencephalography, Electromyography, Evoked Potentials, Motor, Feedback, Female, Fingers, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Motor Cortex, Movement, Muscle, Skeletal, Neuropsychological Tests, Photic Stimulation, Psychomotor Performance, Pyramidal Tracts, Reaction Time, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation