Independent early and late sensory processes for proprioceptive integration when planning a step


  • Saradjian Anahid H.
  • Teasdale Normand
  • Blouin Jean
  • Mouchnino Laurence


  • EEG
  • Gait initiation
  • Motor preparation
  • Proprioception
  • Sensorimotor cortex

document type



Somatosensory inputs to the cortex undergo an early and a later stage of processing which are characterized by an early and a late somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP). The early response is highly representative of the stimulus characteristics whereas the late response reflects a more integrative, task specific, stage of sensory processing. We hypothesized that the later processing stage is independent of the early processing stage. We tested the prediction that a reduction of the first volley of input to the cortex should not prevent the increase of the late SEP. Using the sensory interference phenomenon, we halved the amplitude of the early response to somatosensory input of the ankle joints (evoked by vibration) when participants either planned a step forward or remained still. Despite the initial cortical response to the vibration being massively decreased in both tasks, the late response was still enhanced during step planning. Source localization indicated the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) as the likely origin of the late response modulation. Overall these results support the dissociation between the processes underlying the early and late SEP. The later processing stage could involve both direct and indirect thalamic connections to PPC which bypass the postcentral somatosensory cortex.

more information