Title: Distributed Modular Networks for Controlling Movement and Cognition
Speaker: Professor J. Houk
Speaker Info: Northwestern U.
The motor system includes many structures that are distributed widely throughout the CNS. New ideas are emerging about how they work together with higher cognitive centers to plan and control motor behavior. Anatomical findings indicate that these distributed networks are organized in a modular fashion, with discrete subcortical loops through the basal ganglia and cerebellum. Microelectrode recordings of the signals in these pathways are revealing specializations that relate to different stages in the planning and control of movement. In the first part of my talk, I will discuss work from my laboratory on the mechanisms that generate the neural signals that guide the execution of voluntary movements. Then I will suggest analogies with the mechanisms for initiating and sustaining working memories of sensory events, a cognitive function. Next, I will describe a model of prefrontal cortex which illustrates how cortical-basal ganglionic circuitry could provide a robust mechanism for encoding the serial order of events. Finally, I will discuss how this modular network might be interfaced with the voluntary command network to execute sequential movements. This set of examples will serve to illustrate how cognition and movement might be integrated.Date: Friday, November 13, 1998