Motor-related cortical potentials accompanying enslaving effect in single versus combination of fingers force production tasks

S. Slobounov, J. Johnston, H. Chiang, W. J. Ray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study examined behavioral indices and motor-related cortical potentials (MRCP) of the enslaving phenomenon (i.e. interdependency of finger movement) during isometric force production tasks using each of the four fingers separately and in combination. We examined MRCP preceding force production and those during the achievement of the desired force (ramp phase) and its maintenance (static phase). Methods: Our experimental design systematically controlled the isometric force output, including both ramp and static phases of force production. We applied time-domain averaging of electroencephalographic single trials in order to extract 3 components of MRCP (Bereitshaftspotential, motor potentials, and motor monitoring potentials) preceding and accompanying force responses. Results: We report two major findings. First, we found the index finger to be more independent, accurate, and to display the larger MRCP amplitude whereas the ring finger was more dependent, less accurate, and displayed smaller MRCP amplitude. Second, adding the neighboring finger when the ring finger produced the task significantly reduced its dependency on uninvolved fingers and increased the accuracy of both ramp and static phases which was not the case with the index finger. The amplitude of MRCP was increased when the ring finger produced the task in combination as compared to when the ring finger performed the task in isolation. In contrast, the amplitude of MRCP was significantly reduced when the index finger produced the task in combination with other fingers when compared to when the index finger performed the task in isolation. Conclusions: Overall, the amount of the fingers' dependency on the uninvolved fingers (e.g. amount of enslaving) during isometric force production tasks was inversely related with the amplitude of MRCP indicating the contribution of central mechanisms to the enslaving phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1444-1453
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 26 2002


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sensory Systems
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)

Cite this