Traditionally, motor and cognitive functions were studied separately; however, the investigation of processes at the interface between cognition and action has become more and more popular recently. Typical research goals include the identification of the processes involved using experimental psychological methods, and understanding the neural mechanisms underlying these processes using neurophysiological and functional neuroimaging methods. Specifically, there has been a special emphasis during the past few years on timing mechanisms, practice effects, and the application of rules in guiding action. New information concerning the neural mechanisms involved is being acquired at a rapid pace, albeit mostly within a descriptive framework. With respect to specific brain areas, a key finding has been the clear involvement of the primary motor cortex in complex tasks engaging diverse motor and cognitive dimensions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by United States Public Health Service grants NS17413, PSMH48185, and NS32919; the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and the American Legion Brain Sciences Chair.