Published December 11, 2019 | Version v1
Journal article Open

Perceiving your hand moving: BOLD suppression in sensory cortices and the role of the cerebellum in the detection of feedback delays


Sensory consequences of self-generated as opposed to externally generated movements are perceived as less intense and lead to less neural activity in corresponding sensory cortices, presumably due to predictive mechanisms. Self-generated sensory inputs have been mostly studied in a single modality, using abstract feedback, with control conditions not differentiating efferent from reafferent feedback. Here we investigated the neural processing of (a) naturalistic action–feedback associations of (b) self-generated versus externally generated movements, and (c) how an additional (auditory) modality influences neural processing and detection of delays. Participants executed wrist movements using a passive movement device (PMD) as they watched their movements in real time or with variable delays (0–417 ms). The task was to judge whether there was a delay between the movement and its visual feedback. In the externally generated condition,movements were induced by the PMD to disentangle efferent from reafferent feedback. Half of the trials involved auditory beeps coupled to the onset of the visual feedback. We found reduced BOLD activity in visual, auditory, and somatosensory areas during self generated compared with externally generated movements in unimodal and bimodal conditions. Anterior and posterior cerebellar areas were engaged for trials in which action–feedback delays were detected for self-generated movements. Specifically, the left cerebellar lobule IX was functionally connected with the right superior occipital gyrus. The results indicate efference copy-based predictive mechanisms specific to self-generated movements, leading to BOLD suppression in sensory areas. In addition, our results support the
cerebellum’s role in the detection of temporal prediction errors during our actions and their consequences.


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