Imagined movements exhibit many of the behavioral and neurophysiological characteristics of executed actions. As a result, they are considered simulations of physical actions with an inhibition mechanism that suppresses overt movement. This inhibition is incomplete, as it does not block autonomic preparation, and it also does not effectively suppress postural adjustments planned in support of imagined movements. It has been suggested that a central inhibition command may fail to suppress postural adjustments because it may not have access to afference-based elaborations of the postural response that occur downstream of central motor planning. Here, we measured changes in the postural response associated with imagining manual reaching movements under varying levels of imagined loading of the arm. We also manipulated stance stability, and found that postural sway reduced with increased (imagined) arm loading when imagining reaching movements from the less stable stance. As there were no afferent signals associated with the loading constraint, these results suggest that postural adjustments can leak during motor imagery because the postural component of the central motor plan is itself not inhibited effectively.
Brain Research – Elsevier
Published: Oct 22, 2015
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