Action Selection and Motor Decision Making: Insights from Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Tecilla, Margherita; Guerra, Andrea; Rocchi, Lorenzo; Määttä, Sara; Bologna, Matteo; Herrojo Ruiz, Maria; Biundo, Roberta; Antonini, Angelo and Ferreri, Florinda. 2022. Action Selection and Motor Decision Making: Insights from Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. Brain Sciences, 12(5), 639. ISSN 2076-3425 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In everyday life, goal-oriented motor behaviour relies on the estimation of the rewards/costs associated with alternative actions and on the appropriate selection of movements. Motor decision making is defined as the process by which a motor plan is chosen among a set of competing actions based on the expected value. In the present literature review we discuss evidence from transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) studies of motor control. We focus primarily on studies of action selection for instructed movements and motor decision making. In the first section, we delve into the usefulness of various TMS paradigms to characterise the contribution of motor areas and distributed brain networks to cued action selection. Then, we address the influence of motivational information (e.g., reward and biomechanical cost) in guiding action choices based on TMS findings. Finally, we conclude that TMS represents a powerful tool for elucidating the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying action choices in humans.

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This work was partially supported by the Italian National Institute of Health, Grant GR2016-02361802 “Prediction of conversion from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s disease based on TMS-EEG biomarkers”.


action preparation; action selection; corticospinal excitability; motor decision making; motor cortex; movement; TMS

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7 May 2022Accepted
12 May 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

31 May 2022 10:31

Last Modified:

31 May 2022 10:31

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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