Brain Topography

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 566–576 | Cite as

Movement Kinematics Dynamically Modulates the Rolandic ~ 20-Hz Rhythm During Goal-Directed Executed and Observed Hand Actions

  • B. Marty
  • M. Bourguignon
  • V. Jousmäki
  • V. Wens
  • S. Goldman
  • X. De Tiège
Original Paper


This study investigates whether movement kinematics modulates similarly the rolandic α and β rhythm amplitude during executed and observed goal-directed hand movements. It also assesses if this modulation relates to the corticokinematic coherence (CKC), which is the coupling observed between cortical activity and movement kinematics during such motor actions. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) signals were recorded from 11 right-handed healthy subjects while they performed or observed an actor performing the same repetitive hand pinching action. Subjects’ and actor’s forefinger movements were monitored with an accelerometer. Coherence was computed between acceleration signals and the amplitude of α (8–12 Hz) or β (15–25 Hz) oscillations. The coherence was also evaluated between source-projected MEG signals and their β amplitude. Coherence was mainly observed between acceleration and the amplitude of β oscillations at movement frequency within bilateral primary sensorimotor (SM1) cortex with no difference between executed and observed movements. Cross-correlation between the amplitude of β oscillations at the SM1 cortex and movement acceleration was maximal when acceleration was delayed by ~ 100 ms, both during movement execution and observation. Coherence between source-projected MEG signals and their β amplitude during movement observation and execution was not significantly different from that during rest. This study shows that observing others’ actions engages in the viewer’s brain similar dynamic modulations of SM1 cortex β rhythm as during action execution. Results support the view that different neural mechanisms might account for this modulation and CKC. These two kinematic-related phenomena might help humans to understand how observed motor actions are actually performed.


Magnetoencephalography MEG Coherence mu rhythm Primary sensory motor cortex Mirror neurons system Corticokinematic coherence CKC 



Xavier De Tiège is Postdoctorate Clinical Master Specialist at the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (FRS-FNRS, Brussels, Belgium). This work was supported by the program Attract of Innoviris (Grant 2015-BB2B-10 to Mathieu Bourguignon), the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Grant PSI2016-77175-P to Mathieu Bourguignon), the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action of the European Commission (grant #743562 to Mathieu Bourguignon), a Brains Back to Brussels grant to Veikko Jousmäki from the Institut d’Encouragement de la Recherche Scientifique et de l’Innovation de Bruxelles (Brussels, Belgium), European Research Council (Advanced Grant #232946 to Riitta Hari), the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (FRS-FNRS, Belgium, Research Credits: J009713), and the Academy of Finland (grants #131483 and #263800). The MEG project at the ULB-Hôpital Erasme (Brussels, Belgium) is financially supported by the Fonds Erasme. We thank Helge Kainulainen and Ronny Schreiber at the Brain Research Unit (Aalto University, Finland) for technical support. We also thank Professor Stéphane Swillens at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and Professor Riitta Hari (Aalto University) for their support and advices. Finally Brice Marty specially thanks Doctor Stéphanie Grégoire (Mc Gill University) for their support.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Marty
    • 1
  • M. Bourguignon
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • V. Jousmäki
    • 1
    • 3
  • V. Wens
    • 1
    • 5
  • S. Goldman
    • 1
    • 5
  • X. De Tiège
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Cartographie fonctionnelle du Cerveau, UNI – ULB Neuroscience InstituteUniversité libre de Bruxelles (ULB)BrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Laboratoire Cognition Langage et Développement, UNI – ULB Neuroscience InstituteUniversité libre de Bruxelles (ULB)BrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering and Aalto NeuroImagingAalto University School of ScienceEspooFinland
  4. 4.BCBL, Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and LanguageSan SebastianSpain
  5. 5.Department of Functional Neuroimaging, Service of Nuclear Medicine, CUB Hôpital ErasmeUniversité libre de Bruxelles (ULB)BrusselsBelgium

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