Precision grasping in humans: from motor control to cognition

Etienne Olivier*, Marco Davare, Michael Andres, Luciano Fadiga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


In the past decade, functional neuroimaging has proved extremely useful in mapping the human motor circuits involved in skilled hand movements. However, one major drawback of this approach is the impossibility to determine the exact contribution of each individual cortical area to precision grasping. Because transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) makes it possible to induce a transient 'virtual' lesion of discrete brain regions in healthy subjects, it has been extensively used to provide direct insight into the causal role of a given area in human motor behaviour. Recent TMS studies have allowed us to determine the specific contribution, as well as the timing and the hemispheric lateralisation, of distinct parietal and frontal areas to the control of both the kinematics and dynamics of precision grasping. Moreover, recent researches have shown that the same cortical network may contribute to language and number processing, supporting the existence of tight interactions between processes involved in cognition and actions. The aim of this paper is to offer a concise overview of recent studies that have investigated the neural correlates of precision grasping and the possible contribution of the motor system to higher cognitive functions such as language and number processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-648
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurobiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Precision grasping in humans: from motor control to cognition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this