TERM DATABASE

Ventral Premotor Cortex

Last update: September 19, 2022
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By BrainMatters

Summary

This is where part of the premotor cortex is located. It is responsible for defending the body and grasping objects. The front part of this area is also home to mirror neurons, which react when you see someone else making a movement.

Function

The anterior part of this area is active in grabbing movements of the hand and in interactions between the hand and the mouth. This area ensures that the hands have the proper posture to pick up a particular object.

The posterior part of this area is often associated with sensory feedback during movements. The neurons in this area can respond to tactile, visual and auditory stimuli. The area becomes especially active when an object is in the immediate vicinity of the body. Furthermore, this area is involved in controlling defensive movements, such as catching an object thrown at you.

Location

This area is the ventral part of the premotor cortex. The premotor cortex is the area on the outside of Brodmann Area 6, and is located next to the primary motor cortex, the supplementary motor area, and the prefrontal cortex.

Fact

Mirror neurons are located in this area. These are neurons that are active when you make a grasping movement with your hand, but also when you see someone else making such movements. In this way, these mirror neurons are responsible for understanding other people's movements and imitating movements.

Patients

There are no known examples of humans with damage to this area. Therefore, research has been done in monkeys, where these areas were temporarily disabled. It has been found that after being turned off, the monkeys have difficulty picking up objects. The monkeys open their hands too far to pick up a small object, or hold their fingers too close together to pick up a large object.

Author: Myrthe Princen (translated by Melanie Smekal)

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