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Domain general sequence operations contribute to pre-SMA involvement in visuo-spatial processing

By E. Charles eLeek, Kenneth Sung Lai Yuen and Stephen Jaye Johnston


This study used 3T MRI to elucidate the functional role of supplementary motor area (SMA) in relation to visuo-spatial processing. A localizer task contrasting sequential number subtraction and repetitive button pressing was used to functionally delineate non-motor sequence processing in pre-SMA, and activity in SMA-proper associated with motor sequencing. Patterns of BOLD responses in these regions were then contrasted to those from two tasks of visuo-spatial processing. In one task participants performed mental rotation in which recognition memory judgments were made to previously memorized 2D novel patterns across image-plane rotations. The other task involved abstract grid navigation in which observers computed a series of imagined location shifts in response to directional (arrow) cues around a mental grid. The results showed overlapping activation in pre-SMA for sequential subtraction and both visuo-spatial tasks. These results suggest that visuo-spatial processing is supported by non-motor sequence operations that involve pre-SMA. More broadly, these data further highlight the functional heterogeneity of pre-SMA, and show that its role extends to processes beyond the planning and online control of movement

Topics: mental rotation, supplementary motor area, sequence processing, VISUO-SPATIAL TRANSFORMATION, DOMAIN GENERAL PROCESSING
Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
Year: 2016
DOI identifier: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00009
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