Cortical signatures of precision grip force control in children, adolescents and adults

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Human dexterous motor control improves from childhood to adulthood, but little is known about the changes in cortico-cortical communication that support such ontogenetic refinement of motor skills. To investigate age-related differences in connectivity between cortical regions involved in dexterous control we analyzed electroencephalographic data from 88 individuals (range 8-30y) performing a visually-guided precision grip task using Dynamic Causal Modelling (DCM) and Parametric Empirical Bayes (PEB). Our results demonstrate that bidirectional coupling in a canonical 'grasping network' is associated with precision grip performance across age groups. We further demonstrate greater backward coupling from higher-order to lower-order sensorimotor regions from late adolescence in addition to differential associations between connectivity strength in a premotor-prefrontal network and motor performance for different age groups. We interpret these findings as reflecting greater use of top-down and executive control processes with development. These results expand our understanding of the cortical mechanisms that support dexterous abilities through development.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere61018
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Development, Motor control, Electroencephalography, Effective connectivity

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