Brain activity preceding a 2D manual catching task

Mario Tombini, Filippo Zappasodi, Loredana Zollo, Giovanni Pellegrino, Giuseppe Cavallo, Franca Tecchio, Eugenio Guglielmelli, Paolo M. Rossini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated the event-related desynchronization (ERD) and synchronization (ERS) properties of cortical EEG rhythms in regions of interest (ROI) during the preparation of a 2D task for manual catching of a moving object. EEG signals were recorded through a 32-channel system in eleven healthy subjects during the interception task consisting of 2D catching with the right hand of a handle moving at constant velocity (1.5 m/s) on a predefined straight trajectory. The first session of catching movements (CATCHING_PRE) was compared with a second session after 1 h with identical characteristics (CATCHING_POST) and with other two conditions, where the subjects had to reach and grasp the handle fixed in the medium of platform (REACHING) and they looked at the object moving without catching it (GAZE TRACKING). Changes of cortical rhythms were correlated with dynamic and kinematic indexes of motor performance in both catching sessions. Movements requiring different strategies (predictive versus prospective) are supported by specific changes of cortical EEG rhythms: in the CATCHING condition a more evident power decrease (ERD) in alpha 2 and beta band in the sensorimotor region contralateral to the catching hand was observed, while in the REACHING one a bilateral ERD in beta band was found. Motor learning and movement automatization were characterized by a significant reduction of theta ERS in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a ROI linked to focused attention, and with a shift of neuronal activation in alpha 2 band from the bilateral superior parietal areas to the homologous area of the left hemisphere. Finally, our EEG findings are consistent with the role of supplementary motor (SMA), premotor and prefrontal areas in motor planning and preparation. In particular, theta ERS in left SMA significantly correlated with an improvement of motor performance, as evidenced by its correlation with the training-related reduction of interception time (IT).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1735-1746
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2009


  • EEG
  • Event-related desynchronization (ERD)
  • Event-related synchronization (ERS)
  • Manual catching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neurology


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