Neostriatal neuronal activity correlates better with movement kinematics under certain rewards

Ioan Opris, Mikhail A. Lebedev, Randall J. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated how the activity of neostriatal neurons is related to the kinematics of movement when monkeys performed visually and vibratory cued wrist extensions and flexions. Single-unit recordings of 142/236 neostriatal neurons showed pre-movement activity (PMA) in a reaction time task with unpredictable reward. Monkeys were pseudo-randomly (75%) rewarded for correct performance. A regression model was used to determine whether the correlation between neostriatal neuronal activity and the kinematic variables (position, velocity, and acceleration) of wrist movement changes as a function of reward contingency, sensory cues, and movement direction. The coefficients of determination (CoD) representing the proportion of the variance in neuronal activity explained by the regression model on a trial by trial basis, together with their temporal occurrences (time of best regression/correlation, ToC) were compared across sensory modality, movement direction, and reward contingency. The best relationship (correlation) between neuronal activity and movement kinematic variables, given by the average coefficient of determination (CoD), was: (a) greater during trials in which rewards were certain, called "A" trials, as compared with those in which reward was uncertain called ("R") trials, (b) greater during flexion (Flex) trials as compared with extension (Ext) trials, and (c) greater during visual (VIS) cued trials than during vibratory (VIB) cued trials, for the same type of trial and the same movement direction. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that predictability of reward for correct performance is accompanied by faster linkage between neostriatal PMA and the vigor of wrist movement kinematics. Furthermore, the results provide valuable insights for building an upper-limb neuroprosthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number336
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Issue numberAUG
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Basal ganglia
  • Hand movement
  • Motivation
  • Movement preparation
  • Multilinear regression
  • Neostriatum
  • Neuronal activity
  • Reward uncertainty


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