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Movement Planning

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  • March 2008
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Movement planning is a complex activity that requires communication between both sensory stimulus and areas that control for these movements. Numerous amount of research has been carried out to decipher what areas of the brain are responsible for motor planning and intention coding, narrowing locations to specific regions in the post parietal cortex (PPC). Both fMRI and cell recording studies in monkeys have aided researchers in understanding motor planning, however the advantages and disadvantages of these methods should not be overlooked. These methods indicate a common link between monkey parietal regions that are involved in movement, and the human brain that responds similarly, (Conolly, Andersen & Goodale, 2003) but also reveal differences. Saccades and reaches are two crucial mechanisms that enable researchers to determine what areas in the brain are active during these motor tasks. An in-depth examination of these tasks, aided by the cognitive methods they employ will provide us with concrete evidence as to what processes occur during movement planning.

The aim of movement planning is to transform environmental stimuli into precise motor execution, and to achieve this, there are a number of distinct intermediate processes that need to be carried out. These processes include computations that involve coding size, location and shape of the goal-object (Milner & Goodale, 1995). Moreover, these processes are constantly under time-pressure to perform and result in accurate motor execution. Motor planning involves matching location and required actions relative to the observer, where these processes must be coded within a common frame of reference (Milner & Goodale, 1995). Processes that are triggered in the presence of stimuli, transform sensory signals that are used to direct movement into a common frame of reference. This common frame of reference is an eye-centered reference frame that controls eye-head-limb-body signals and combines information from...

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