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Jeffery G Bednark, John N Reynolds, Tom Stafford, Peter Redgrave, and Elizabeth A Franz (2013)

Creating a movement heuristic for voluntary action: Electrophysiological correlates of movement-outcome learning

Cortex, 49:771--780.

Performance of voluntary behavior requires the selection of appropriate movements to attain a desired goal. We propose that the selection of voluntary movements is often contingent on the formation of a movement heuristic or set of internal rules governing movement selection. We used event-related potentials (ERPs) to identify the electrophysiological correlates of the formation of movement heuristics during movement-outcome learning. In two experiments, ERPs from non-learning control tasks were compared to a movement-learning task in which a movement heuristic was formed. We found that novelty P3 amplitude was negatively correlated with improved performance in the movement-learning task. Additionally, enhancement of novelty P3 amplitude was observed during learning even after controlling for memory, attentional and inter-stimulus interval parameters. The feedback correct-related positivity (fCRP) was only elicited by sensory effects following intentional movements. These findings extend previous studies demonstrating the role of the fCRP in performance monitoring and the role of the P3 in learning. In particular, the present study highlights an integrative role of the fCRP and the novelty P3 for the acquisition of movement heuristics. While the fCRP indicates that the goal of intentional movements has been attained, the novelty P3 engages stimulus-driven attentional mechanisms to determine the primary aspects of movement and context required to elicit the sensory effect.