Description: Jakub Limanowski, Pedro Lopes, Janis Keck, Patrick Baudisch, Karl Friston, and Felix Blankenburg Somatosensory input generated by one’s actions (i.e., self-initiated body movements) is generally attenuated. Conversely, externally caused somatosensory input is enhanced; e.g., during active touch and the haptic exploration of objects. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to ask how the brain accomplishes this delicate weighting of self-generated vs externally caused somatosensory components. Finger movements were either self-generated by our participants or induced by functional electrical stimulation (FES) of the same muscles. During half of the trials, electrotactile impulses were administered when the (actively or passively) moving finger reached a predefined flexion threshold. FMRI revealed an interaction effect in the contralateral posterior insular cortex (pIC), which responded more strongly to touch during self-generated than during FES-induced movements. A network analysis via dynamic causal modelling (DCM) revealed that connectivity from the secondary somatosensory cortex (S2) via the pIC to the supplementary motor area (SMA) was generally attenuated during self-generated relative to FES-induced movements—yet specifically enhanced by touch received during self-generated, but not FES-induced movements. Together, these results suggest a crucial role of the parietal operculum in differentiating self-generated from externally caused somatosensory information received from one’s moving limb.
Related article: http://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhz111
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