Human premotor areas parse sequences into their spatial and temporal features

Katja Kornysheva, Jörn Diedrichsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Skilled performance is characterized by precise and flexible control of movement sequences in space and time. Recent theories suggest that integrated spatio-temporal trajectories are generated by intrinsic dynamics of motor and premotor networks. This contrasts with behavioural advantages that emerge when a trained spatial or temporal feature of sequences is transferred to a new spatio-temporal combination arguing for independent neural representations of these sequence features. We used a new fMRI pattern classification approach to identify brain regions with independent vs integrated representations. A distinct regional dissociation within motor areas was revealed: whereas only the contralateral primary motor cortex exhibited unique patterns for each spatio-temporal sequence combination, bilateral premotor areas represented spatial and temporal features independently of each other. These findings advocate a unique function of higher motor areas for flexible recombination and efficient encoding of complex motor behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e03043
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2014, Kornysheva and Diedrichsen.


  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Motor Cortex/anatomy & histology
  • Movement/physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex/anatomy & histology
  • Psychomotor Performance/physiology
  • Space Perception/physiology
  • Time Perception/physiology


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