Relationship between speed and EEG activity during imagined and executed hand movements

Han Yuan, Christopher Perdoni, Bin He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


The relationship between primary motor cortex and movement kinematics has been shown in nonhuman primate studies of hand reaching or drawing tasks. Studies have demonstrated that the neural activities accompanying or immediately preceding the movement encode the direction, speed and other information. Here we investigated the relationship between the kinematics of imagined and actual hand movement, i.e. the clenching speed, and the EEG activity in ten human subjects. Study participants were asked to perform and imagine clenching of the left hand and right hand at various speeds. The EEG activity in the alpha (8-12 Hz) and beta (18-28 Hz) frequency bands were found to be linearly correlated with the speed of imagery clenching. Similar parametric modulation was also found during the execution of hand movements. A single equation relating the EEG activity to the speed and the hand (left versus right) was developed. This equation, which contained a linear independent combination of the two parameters, described the time-varying neural activity during the tasks. Based on the model, a regression approach was developed to decode the two parameters from the multiple-channel EEG signals. We demonstrated the continuous decoding of dynamic hand and speed information of the imagined clenching. In particular, the time-varying clenching speed was reconstructed in a bell-shaped profile. Our findings suggest an application to providing continuous and complex control of noninvasive brain-computer interface for movement-impaired paralytics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number026001
JournalJournal of neural engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010


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